Last Saturday the Truckee Bandits took on the Dayton Dust Devils at Sparks High School and left with a 12-0 win. The group of 5- through 7-year-olds were coming off a tough defeat at the hands of Fallon the week before.
Truckee started the game off recovering the Dust Devil kickoff on the Truckee 45. Truckee moved the ball slowly behind good line play by Jared Gur, Caige Maran, Sean McMullen, Ricki Espinoza, Miles Kelly-Caruthers and Connor Folks. Truckee got a first down on an 8-yard run by Aidan Powers. Ronan Collins then ran through the middle of the line for 15 more yards. Truckeeand#8217;s first drive then fizzled out with Truckee turning the ball over on downs. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, one their top running backs, Ronan Collins, broke his leg on fourth down and will be out for the season.
The rest of the first half was a defensive battle with Truckeeand#8217;s defense being led by Gur, McMullen, Kelly-Caruthers, Will Atkinson, Tait Nicholas, Jessie Espinoza, Stephen Borden and Casey Slusher all making great defensive stops. The teams headed into halftime tied 0-0.
Dayton received the second-half kickoff and again the Truckee defense came on strong, forcing Dayton to turn the ball over on downs. Truckee started on their own 45 and on the first offensive play of the second half, Aidan Powers ran through the middle of the line 55 yards for a touchdown. The run was aided by good blocks by Drake Johnson and the middle of offensive line.
After holding the Dust Devils to one first down the Truckee offensive got the ball back again. This time Jake Solberg took the reverse handoff from quarterback Ezra Scharp and ran around the right end for a gain of 25 yards. Two plays later Will Atkinson, stepping in for the injured Collins, took the ball through the left side of the line for a 20-yard touchdown run and Truckee led 12-0.
Truckeeand#8217;s defense again played strong with good line play from Cooper Smart, Aiden England and Joey Smart stopping Dayton on the best drive of the game and giving the ball back to the Wolverines on their own 20-yard line.
The fourth quarter started with Truckee on the 23. On third down behind some good blocking from the line, including a key block by Quinn Krommenhoek, Atkinson ran 77 yards for an apparent touchdown. Unfortunately, the play was called back on a holding call and Truckee ended up turning the ball over on downs.
After pushing the Dayton offense backwards, the Truckee defense gave the ball back to the offense on the 20-yard line. With time running out Atkinson again ran through the right side of the line, this time running out of gas and being caught from behind after a 60-yard run. Time ran out with Truckee on the Dayton 5-yard line.
The win evened Truckeeand#8217;s record at 2-2. But it was bittersweet with the loss of Ronan Collins, who will be sorely missed for his enthusiasm and desire of the game. The Bandits dedicated this victory to Ronan, No. 23.