TRUCKEE, California — The Truckee football team advanced to the next round of the Class 3A Northern League tournament on Friday night, dominating Elko on all sides of the ball in a 48-7 victory.
The Wolverines’ defense didn’t give the Indians anything all night, forcing three and outs on six possessions while limiting Elko to 50 yards of total offense.
“Last time we played Elko, their two touchdowns they had were purely (from) penalties,” said junior defensive end Finn Loper. “We came into this game with a different mindset. We shut it down.”
Loper finished the evening with six tackles, including a sack. He leads Truckee on the season with 11.5 sacks.
The Wolverines were in control from the opening whistle, forcing a quick punt, and then driving more than 60 yards to set up a short touchdown run by senior Connor McMullen.
McMullen also led the defense on the game with 11 tackles.
After stopping Elko on three straight plays the next drive, Truckee senior George Skaff blocked the ensuing punt. Sophomore Tavin Hamilton recovered the ball and raced to the end zone for an early two-touchdown lead.
“The guy lined up right on me let me free release,” said Skaff, who finished the game with nine tackles, including two for a loss. “I just got my hands on the ball. I’m really hyped for Tavin that he was able to pick it up and get it in. That was an amazing play by him.”
After another defensive stop, Truckee senior Deacon Mehler extended the lead with a 21-yard touchdown run. Mehler finished the game with 80 yards on seven carries. He also had a 55-yard reception.
A solid punt return by senior Tyler Estabrook set up the next drive at the Elko 15-yard line. On the following play, Truckee sophomore quarterback Jackson Kahl found junior Jackson Ellermeyer in the corner of the end zone.
Kahl finished the evening 6 of 10 through the air for 126 yards. Ellermeyer caught a team-high three passes for 46 yards. The ensuing kick by sophomore Jairo Zarate gave the Wolverines a 28-0 lead. Zarate made all six extra-point attempts.
The onslaught continued on the next possession when junior Jameson Hogarth broke free for a 38-yard touchdown run. The score gave the Wolverines a touchdown on the team’s first four drives.
Truckee failed the extra-point attempt after the holder pulled down a high snap and attempted to run.
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The Elko defense would get its first stop of the night on Truckee’s next possession, and managed to keep the score at 34-0 going into the locker room.
On the first drive of the second half, Truckee’s Estabrook brought the Wolverines faithful to their feet, gashing the Elko defense on a 79-yard touchdown run.
The touchdown started a running clock due to Truckee being up by 35 or more points. Estabrook finished the game with 147 yards on seven carries.
Junior Cody Flynn later scored Truckee’s final points of the evening, reaching the end zone on a 24-yard run.
Flynn had 40 rushing yards on the night on a pair of carries.
With the clock ticking down and Truckee getting some of its second- and third-string players into the game, the Elko defense held up a Wolverine runner, seemingly stopping his forward momentum.
No whistle was blown, however, and an Elko defender stripped the ball and junior Manny Alvarado ran it back 75 yards the other way for a touchdown.
From there, Truckee would run out the remainder of the clock.
“This is a good win,” said Head Coach Josh Ivens. “Elko is a prideful school and we have respect for them. To beat them soundly like this is gratifying.”
With the victory, Truckee advances into the Northern League semifinals, and will play No. 2 seed Fernley.
“I’m so excited,” said Loper on the matchup. “We’re going to come in different. It’s going to be the most focused week of practice this year — 100 percent.”
The Wolverines were topped by the Vaqueros 41-14 earlier this season.
“We have to eliminate penalties,” said Skaff. “Our defense needs to show up and stop them, like we did today.”
The game will be at Fernley High School at 7 p.m. on Friday.
“Our guys want it,” said Ivens. “I keep saying, they are gritty, hungry kids. They never gave up when things didn’t look good earlier in the year. Our season could have gone in a totally different direction, but they didn’t allow it to happen.”