He was visibly holding back tears and a few minutes earlier he told his coach he may not be interested in playing because he was upset. It was too late for running back Hutton Johnson to do anything else but move forward. That is exactly what this week’s team captain did on the opening offensive play of the game.
Johnson powered up the middle for an 11-yard gain during the Truckee Wolverines Maverick Division game in the Sierra Youth Football League last Saturday against the Wooster Colts.
Johnson and the rest of his 7- and 8-year-old teammates were forced to settle for a 27-0 loss to the first-place Colts at Wooster High School in Reno, but Johnson never did settle for a loss on any of his plays.
Johnson never went backwards on his six carries or his two kick returns. After his first run of the game, Johnson kept a third-quarter drive alive with a 14-yard run on third down with 12 yards to go. He also earned his third first down of the game with a 9-yard run up the middle during an 11-play drive in the fourth quarter.
All this after learning his younger brother suffered a broken leg during a Truckee Wolverines Bandit Division football game minutes before Johnson was set to take the field.
Johnson’s effort was impressive because of the emotional adversity and because the Colts’ stingy defense only allowed one other Wolverine runner to end the day with positive yardage. Running back Damon Parisi finished the day with 1 yard on 10 carries.
The Wolverines’ offense struggled most of the day but did make the game closer than the score might indicate with some standout plays.
Parisi followed Johnson’s big opening run with a scamper around the right side for 9 yards and was awarded a first down after taking a late hit flagged by the officials. Running back Jackson Kahl took a handoff 5 yards on the closing play of the first half.
Quarterback Tavin Hamilton led the fourth-quarter drive with a 10-yard pass completion to tight end Sawyer Burley and got the Wolverines into their best field position of the day. The Colts then tightened up their defense once the Wolverines reached their 20-yard line and forced a turnover on downs on the next four plays.
The Wolverines also had some standout plays on defense that were highlighted by the biggest hit of the game. Johnson came through the left side of the line from his defensive end position and leveled the Colts’ running back immediately after receiving the handoff. The tackle was one of Johnson’s two on the day and pushed the Colts back 6 yards.
Defensive end Jason Roth, lining up on the opposite side of Johnson, led the Wolverines with a season-high seven tackles. Middle linebacker Kahl followed with five tackles, four coming after the Colts gained 14 yards or more on those plays.
The Wolverines’ leading tackler on the season, defensive tackle Matthew Seline, turned in four tackles. Defensive tackles Colton Conklin, Jacob Moule and Peter Reoutt tallied three tackles each. Cornerbacks Galdino Bravo-Karvonen and Parisi added three.
Nose tackle Luis Castaneda, defensive end Carson Jensen and linebacker Aidan Anderson contributed two tackles each. Linebacker Mitchell Mueller made one tackle along with Hamilton, who earned a tackle after a turnover.
Parisi was the Wolverines’ leading kick returner with a 6-yard return straight up the middle.
Truckee (1-2) takes on the Reed Raiders (2-2) for their first home game of the season at River View Sports Park in Truckee on Saturday at noon.