Anxiety before the first football game of the year can weigh heavy on a coach’s mind. The worst thoughts can creep in. Your team can fumble and turn over the ball on your first offensive play. Your team can be flagged for penalties on two of the first four offensive plays and the first play of the game for your defensive squad for something as careless as not wearing a mouth guard.
It can get worse. The other team could score a touchdown on their first play of the game and then recover an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff.
It was definitely the makings of a worst-case scenario as every one of those coach’s nightmares came true as the Truckee Wolverines took on the Carson City Senators in the Maverick Division of the Sierra Youth Football League in Carson City this past Saturday.
However, the 7- and 8-year-old Wolverines woke up and put those mishaps to rest and backed up the Senators 7 yards on the next three plays following the onside kick and forced a punt. Three plays later, facing a third-and-9 situation, Truckee running back Damon Parisi took the handoff to the right on a sweep and beat everyone to the end zone for a 64-yard touchdown. Running back Jackson Kahl took a handoff around the left and into the end zone for the point-after touchdown and a 7-6 lead in the game that started terribly. The SYFL awards one point for getting into the end zone from four yards out and two points for a point-after touchdown kicked through the uprights due to the difficulty of kicking a ball through the uprights at this age level.
The Senators did respond with two big runs of 26 yards and a 29-yard touchdown in the second quarter to retake the lead 12-7 for a short period of time. Less than two minutes later, Parisi swept around the left side for the longest run of the day, a 70-yard touchdown. Quarterback Tavin Hamilton capped off the touchdown with a sweep to the right for a successful point-after touchdown to give the Wolverines a 14 – 12 halftime lead.
Truckee’s defense then shut down the Senators offense and kept them to just 7 yards on 10 carries in the second half. They went on to win 28-12.
The Senators were unable to keep the Wolverines offense under budget and allowed a touchdown and extra point in the third and fourth quarters.
Hamilton connected with tight end Sawyer Burley for a 45-yard pass play to set up Parisi’s third touchdown on the day from 21 yards out. Running back Hutton Johnson made good on the point-after touchdown with his 4-yard run up the middle.
Kahl got into the end zone from 10 yards out in the fourth quarter. Hamilton earned the extra point again with another quarterback keeper to the right that sealed the 28-12 victory for the Wolverines.
Parisi led all rushers with 158 yards on five attempts, with three of those ending in the end zone. Johnson was second on the team with 29 yards on three carries. Kahl finished the day with 19 yards on two carries, including his 10-yard touchdown.
Hamilton had 8 yards on two carries and had one completion on two passing attempts. He led the team with 45 yards passing. Burley led the team with his 45-yard reception.
Defensively, the Wolverines were led in tackles by defensive tackle Johnson, defensive tackle Colton Conklin and safety Hunter Hansell. All had five tackles. Parisi at cornerback and defensive tackle Matthew Seline both had four tackles, including a sack by Seline.
Defensive end Ernesto Gomez Cortez recorded two of his three tackles in the first four plays of the game, including a forced fumble that the Senators running back was able to fall on. Defensive tackle Jacob Moule, cornerback Galdino Bravo Karvonen and defensive tackle Peter Reott all had two tackles.
Nose tackle Luis Castaneda, defensive tackle Burley, linebackers Aidan Anderson and Kahl and Hamilton on special teams all chipped in with one tackle each.
The Wolverines were also led in special-teams play by Conklin with a 17-yard punt return.
Truckee will enjoy a bye this Saturday and will return to action against the Fallon Greenwave on Saturday, Sept. 8 in Fallon.