Last Saturday, the Truckee Bandits of the Sierra Youth Football League took on the Reno Huskies at Reno High. The Truckee Bandits had not won a game in their two-plus years of playing football. Hopes were high as they always are for this 20-boy team of 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds — and for a good reason, as the young Truckee squad would leave with their heads held high after a 25-7 win.
Truckee started with the ball on its own 48 for their first drive of the game. On the second play, Aidan Powers took the ball and ran through a hole on the left side of the line provided by great blocks from Caige Maran and Will Atkinson. Powers made three moves and broke into the open field and scored a touchdown on a 35-yard run. The Truckee defense took over with the score 6-0.
Truckee’s defense, led by the stout line play of Ricki Espinoza, Miles Kelly and stellar play of ends Sean McMullen and Atkinson, stopped the Huskies on their first drive. Truckee got the ball back in Reno territory to start its second series.
This drive took a little longer, but it still led to a score by Truckee. Ronan Collins scored on a run around the right end of the line with great blocks by Jessie Espinoza, Jake Solberg and a good down-field block by quarterback Ezra Scharp. The first quarter ended with Truckee leading 13-0.
The second quarter was a defensive battle with neither team scoring. Truckee’s defense was led by great tackles by Jessie Espinoza and solid line play from Quinn Krommenhoek, Joey Green and Cooper Smart. The boys went into halftime leading 13-0 and dreaming of their first win of the season.
The second half started with Reno receiving the kickoff and starting on their own 45. Truckee got the ball back on McMullen’s second of three fumble recovery of the game.
With the ball in Husky territory, Truckee started the second half with Maran at quarterback. Collins scored again for Truckee with a run that started on the left side and ended up going back to the right for a 38-yard run. The run was aided by blocks by Aiden England and Drake Johnson. Reno received the kickoff again, now trailing 19-0.
The Huskies got on the scoreboard with a great run around the right end with their running back breaking multiple tackles by Wolverine defenders, cutting the score to 19-7.
Truckee’s defense got tough again, not allowing the Huskies to score the rest of the game. Truckee’s defense was bolstered on the outside by Tait Nicholas and Connor Folks pushing the runners back inside, where tackles were made by Powers, Maran and Scharp.
Jake Solberg ended the day’s scoring by taking a wide receiver reverse around the right end of the Truckee line for a run of 23 yards, pushing the final score to 25-7.
The win ended a two-year winning drought against the Reno Huskies and evened Truckee’s record at 1-1, after a tough 19-15 loss to the Galena Grizzlies last week. The team celebrated the win by dousing coach Marc McMullen in ice-cold water at midfield.