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Fallon battles senior-heavy Truckee

Thomas Ranson
lvnsports@yahoo.com
Fallon's Brock Uptain (6) dives to block a Fernley defender while Conner Nelson (3) carries the ball.
THOMAS RANSON / LVN |

The Greenwave football team knocked off its cross-valley rival to begin the season.

This weekend, Fallon will meet another rival that set the bar for football excellence earlier this decade.

Fallon (1-0), which is coming off a 26-13 win over Fernley, travels to Truckee (1-0) on Saturday after the Wolverines dismantled Wooster, 39-7, in Bo Seller’s head coaching debut. Kickoff is at 1:30 at Surprise Stadium.

Truckee brings a certain pedigree to the gridiron this weekend even though the Wolverines haven’t been the same since they dominated the state and won the championship in 2012. But for Fallon, the defending state champ, Truckee brings a strong early-season challenge.

“They’re very well coached. They look like the Truckee from a few years ago,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill Said. “They’re very good executing the wing T on offense and they’re aggressive on defense. They swarm the ball. They’re a really good football team.”

Fallon’s had the upper hand in the series lately, winning the last three meetings. Truckee and Fallon engaged in back-to-back playoff battles with the 2012 state semifinal marking the last time the Wolverines won.

In the four years that have passed, though, future Hall of Fame coach Bob Schaffer retired and Truckee saw a drop in numbers and at one point, it couldn’t field a freshmen team. This year’s Warriors, though, will be relying on a strong senior class.

“The difference this year is that we have a good senior class of kids that has some size and good talent,” said Truckee coach Josh Ivens, who continued to follow Schaffer’s model for Truckee football. “They have put four years of hard work in and they are hungry for success. The success of our team year in and year out is usually driven by senior leadership. We have a great group of kids who understand our tradition and love the game of football. That’s the biggest difference. I haven’t changed a thing.”

Hill said after watching video of Fallon’s battle with Fernley that the team needed to clean up on the defensive end and be more consistent on offense. While the defense picked off Fernley four times, several missed assignments led to large gains, including an 80-yard touchdown run.

“We had quite a few (assignment errors),” Hill said. “We can’t have that against Truckee. Truckee’s a very good football team.

“That’s part of our growing as a football team, especially on that side of the ball with the inexperience.”

In his quarterback debut, Christian Nemeth connected with senior receiver Conner Nelson for two touchdowns but also threw two interceptions. Senior running back Cade Vercellotti helped Fallon on the ground as he ran for 200 yards on 31 carries for two touchdowns.

“On offensive side, we played pretty well at times,” Hill said. “We got a little lackluster in the second half. It wasn’t for a lack of effort. We had some opportunities to put game away and didn’t. We’re a young team and we need to seize those opportunities.”

The biggest challenge Truckee presents is its size and physicality. Against Wooster, the Wolverines executed on both sides of the ball and shut the Colts down.

Senior Jayden Commendatore completed 10 of 13 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns, while senior Cole Hantly led a balanced rushing attack with 84 yards on seven carries and one touchdown. Truckee ran for 288 yards. Defensively, senior Orlander Simms had 13 tackles, including three for loss, while fellow senior Wulfe Retzlaff had 13 tackles.

“We like that challenge,” Hill said. “Years ago, they were the top dog and we were chasing them. The roles have changed a little bit.”

After Saturday’s match-up, Fallon will host Wooster in its first game of the season next Friday.