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Wolverines set out to defend state title

ERICK STUDENICKA

Tahoe-Truckee High School head football coach Bob Shaffer is noticeably reserved when asked to comment whether the Wolverine varsity football team can reclaim the Nevada AAA state football championship once again this fall.

“We’ve got to worry about winning game one first,” Shaffer said. “We can’t even look down the road that far right now.”

One can’t blame Shaffer for his conservative outlook on this year’s team – only 12 of the 34 players on last year’s title squad return this season and he hasn’t had the opportunity to see his players in an actual scrimmage this season. (The Wolverines play their annual scrimmage against Lassen and Live Oak high schools tomorrow at home starting at noon.)

“We’re starting over this year with inexperienced seniors and young juniors,” Shaffer said.

One positive aspect of the early season for Shaffer and the rest of the Wolverine coaching staff has been the increased turnout for football. With 40 players on the roster this fall, Shaffer hopes to reduce fatigue among his players by having 22 different players in the 22 different offensive and defensive positions, meaning no player will have to go “both ways.”

“Since most teams we play will have two-way players, we’re hoping to take advantage of that and wear teams down on offense,” Shaffer said. “We’d like to have a rapid-fire offense, where less than 20 seconds elapses between the time the referee blows his whistle and the moment we run our play. We’d wear them down in the first half and take advantage of their tiredness in the second half.”

Shaffer said that Wolverine fans will still see plenty of passes during Truckee games, but that the passes will probably be conservative for the first few games.

“With two young quarterbacks, we plan to shorten the field and run plays that are more likely to be successful,” Shaffer said. “We’ll go deeper later in the season.”

Shaffer said the starting quarterback battle between Nick Franklin and Chris Gerdin has not been decided.

“We’ll probably wait until after the scrimmage to decide who’ll start,” Shaffer said. “At times, both have looked good; at other times, both have shown their inexperience.”

Shaffer said there were several other starting positions still up in the air to be determined during the scrimmage.

“In several positions, we’re looking for kids to step up into starting responsibility,” Shaffer said. “The scrimmage will determine the fate of several players in terms of who’s starting.

While Shaffer will see plenty of new faces in Wolverine jerseys to-


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