Wolverines in familiar spot atop Division I
The Tahoe-Truckee Wolverines’ football team has been held together by duct tape this season.
Despite an ever-changing roster resulting from injuries and other adversities, the Wolverines advanced to 4-0 in division play Saturday when they crushed the Fernley Vaqueros 53-7 at Surprise Stadium.
The victory was as well rounded as a win can be; Truckee’s defense scored, the special teams scored, the offense capitalized on a wealth of opportunities and scored on both the run and the pass.
David Larson recovered a fumble on the Vaqueros second play of the game, giving the Wolverine offense the ball at Fernley’s 7-yard line. On its first play from scrimmage, Truckee scored on a 7-yard run by Casey Nelson. The touchdown was the first of five for Nelson.
Nelson returned a punt 40-yards to set up the Wolverines’ second score and completed the 33-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.
Tudi Corral, who finished the game as the leading tackler for the Wolverines, with 13 forced a fumble on Fernley’s third drive. Robert Acevedo recovered the fumble and Zach Wilson pounded in a 12-yard touchdown run three plays later. The Vaquero’s offense committed five turnovers.
With only 62 total yards, the offense had scored thrice and led 19-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Nelson scored on the Wolverines’ next two possessions of the half. The first was a 44-yard rush down the center of the field and the second an 11-yard run to cap a 41-yard drive.
The defense was the next to strike.
According to Wolverines’ defensive coach Gary Collins, Truckee used a new pass coverage. Both defensive tackles, Acevedo and Brad Noel, dropped back into coverage, leaving a lane open for Corral to rush the passer. Pressured, Fernley’s quarterback, Matt Lambeth, threw a pass that was deflected and then pulled down by Eric Detwiler, who carried the ball 54 yards for a touchdown.
“It was fun to watch the tape of the game,” said Collins. “Seeing everyone on the defense finally doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
The Wolverines struck once more in the half. Quarterback Mike Holmes, returning from injury, connected with Jesse Owens for a 20-yard touchdown strike with 11 seconds remaining in the second quarter, leading the Wolverines to a 47-0 halftime lead.
Nelson capped Truckee’s scoring on the second half’s opening kickoff. Nelson returned the ball 90 yards and put the Wolverines ahead 53-0.
Fernley managed to score early in the fourth quarter after starting two drives inside the Wolverines’ 15 yardline because of Truckee fumbles.
With only one game left in the regular season – at Spring Creek this Friday – the Truckee team faces still more adjustments.
Midway through the second quarter, James Curtis, Truckee’s center, was ejected for allegedly kicking one of Fernley’s players in the head. By NIAA rules, a player who is ejected from a game is automatically suspended from the next game, so Curtis won’t play against Spring Creek. Jose Hurtado will play at the center position Friday.
David DeCoite was popped during a special teams play and suffered a mild concussion and Acevedo reagrivated an ankle sprain from a couple of weeks ago. Neil Flanders injured his knee and will be out for several weeks.
Acevedo and DeCoite’s injuries will not affect their ability to play next week but the Truckee team was given a harsh reminder.
“We’ve had to make a lot of adjustments this season,” said Truckee Head Coach Bob Shaffer. “I have to remind the kids that they are just one play away from starting.”
Seniors Owen, DeCoite, Mark Thiel, Corral, Wilson, Jose Hurtado, Noel, Flanders and Mark Ochoa were honored before the game.
Tahoe-Truckee 19 28 7 0 – 53
Fernley 0 0 0 7 – 7
TT – Nelson 7 run (kick failed) 10:57
TT – Nelson 3 run (kick failed) 7:51
TT – Wilson 12 run (Cook kick) 1:18
TT – Nelson 44 run (Cook kick) 10:01
TT – Nelson 11 run (Cook kick) 6:40
TT – Detwiler 54 interception return (Cook kick) 4:09
TT – Holmes 20 pass to Owens (Cook kick) 0:11
TT – Nelson 90 kickoff return (Cook Kick) 11:45
F – Keller 1 run (Hall kick) 11:52
6 First downs 12
24-144 Rushes-yards 29-94
5-10-1 Comp.-att.-int. 10-30-2
84 Passing yards 132
228 Total yards 226
2-2 Fumbles-lost 3-3
3-26 Penalties-yards 6-41
RUSHING – TT: Nelson 9-82 (4TD), Wilson 6-41, Corral 3-14, Holmes 1-(-11),Suter 4-7, Larson 1-1; F: Keller 12-44, Gillespie 9-25, Hall 2-10, Lambeth 2-8, Fernessey 4-7.
PASSING – TT: Holmes 5-10-1 84 (TD); F: Lambeth 10-30-2 132.
RECEIVING – TT: Snatchko 2-34, Owen 2-31 (TD), Larson 1-19; F: Fernessey 1-41, Hall 3-21, Keller 1-36, Grigg 1-16, Maguin 3-20, Gillespie 1-8.
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For decades the snap of a baseball into a leather glove has signaled a return to warmer weather and the onset of spring in Truckee.