Wolverines make mincemeat of Dust Devils
Sun News Service
DAYTON ” The shootout for second place in the Northern 3A never materialized.
Two high-powered offenses in Truckee and Dayton met on Friday, but only the Wolverines were clicking on all cylinders as they rolled to a 34-14 win over the Dust Devils. Truckee moved to 3-1 in the Northern 3A, taking over second in the process and leaving Dayton to the likely position of holding onto third.
“Truckee’s a great ball team,” Dayton coach Rick Walker said. “Those kids are physical. They play hard. They get after you.”
Wolverines fullback Drew Stewart, who finished the game with three touchdowns and 172 yards on 12 carries, gave credit to Truckee’s big men up front.
“Our offensive line was pretty much dominating their (defensive) line,” Stewart said, “so there were a lot of big holes to run through.”
Seven different Wolverines ” eight counting quarterback Robert Jones ” ran the ball for a total of 350 yards.
“The o-line is what it’s all about,” said Forrest Krull, a 6-foot-1, 275-pound junior guard.
A hard-hitting and stingy Truckee defense, which kept Dayton off the board until early in the fourth quarter, also was a major factor in the game.
“Our defense played well,” Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer said. “The last couple weeks they’ve done a really good job.”
As a result, Dayton could never really sustain its high-powered offense as quarterback Travis Wood completed 15 of his 35 passes for 221 yards, with one of his completions being a 63-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Stokes late in the game. The Dust Devils’ other touchdown came moments earlier on a 73-yard fumble return for a score by Wade Giurlani.
Dayton also didn’t have an effective running game as Truckee held one of the league’s top running backs in Erik Hopper to 53 yards on 20 carries.
“If there’s a downside, we’re still committing unnecessary penalties and turning the ball over way too much,” Shaffer said, referring to the Wolverines’ five fumbles. “We need to make sure we correct that.”
Dayton running back Cory Cupp was taken away in an ambulance in the third quarter as a precautionary measure. Walker said Cupp had movement in all of his extremities.
But it didn’t really matter against the defending state champion Wolverines, who played like they wanted another shot at Northern 3A leader Spring Creek in the NIAA 3A state playoffs. Spring Creek has already beaten Truckee 35-19 this year, but another meeting between the two schools would be an attractive one, Walker said.
“I think it would be a great game to go watch,” Walker said. “It would be something to watch.”
An ominous sign on how Dayton’s night would be happened on its first possession when Wood threw on a fake punt at the Truckee 44, but his pass went off of his receiver’s finger tips.
Truckee went on to march down the field with Tony Krasensky scoring on a 3-yard run to make it 7-0.
Jones hit tight end Alfredo Oropeza on a 51-yard pass play to set up Truckee’s next score. Oropeza rewarded himself when he fell on Ben Tonon’s fumble in the end zone to give the Wolverines a 13-0 lead.
Tonon’s 36-yard punt return to the Dayton 19-yard line put Truckee in business on its next possession, but the Dayton defense was able to hold. The Dust Devils then put together a drive with a key play coming on an 11-yard screen pass on third down from Wood to Hopper. Wood then hit Stokes on a 38-yard pass and completed a 7-yard middle screen to Brandon Aguilera, but the drive stalled at the Truckee 30.
Aaker recovered a fumble at the Truckee 42 on the ensuing possession and Wood completed a 16-yard pass to Stokes to the 26, but that was as far as Dayton could move the ball.
Truckee scored right before halftime, receiving a break on the way when Tonan fumbled, but the ball rolled right to Stewart, who ran for 16 yards down to the Dayton 15 to set up his own 3-yard scoring run to make it 19-0 at halftime.
Any thoughts of a comeback were then effectively dashed when Stewart ran 71 yards for a score. Tonan’s run for the two-pointer made it 27-0 and Stewart’s 3-yard scoring run gave Truckee a 34-0 lead at the end of the third quarter.
“We really played with intensity,” said Truckee center Kellen Lewis. “It’s like coach said: ‘the sleeping giant has been awakened.’ And we just want to keep rolling through the season like this.”
Sylas Wright contributed to this story.