Bob Shaffer may have retired from coaching this past winter. But that doesn’t mean he’s lost his passion for the job.
The longtime Truckee football coach is looking forward to coaching one final high school game on Friday, as he and his Truckee staff will lead the Silver team against the Blue in the 32nd annual Sertoma Classic all-star football game.
“I am, very immensely,” Shaffer said when asked if he’s enjoying his final coaching hurrah, which consists of a condensed week of practice before the big game.
The game, which features the best recently graduated senior players from 30 participating high schools in Northern Nevada, will be held at Damonte Ranch High School in south Reno at 7 p.m. Gates open at 6.
Shaffer will be joined on the Silver squad by seven Truckee players on his 30-man roster, as roughly 20 of the players selected to his team have elected not to participate.
“We’re small in numbers,” Shaffer said. “I think we have 30 kids out of the 50 original kids we selected. So we’re pretty thin in positions as far as backups and all that stuff. But I feel like I have the right 30, and we’ll go to battle with them.”
With all the no-shows, Shaffer’s Silver all-stars are left with only one quarterback, Truckee’s Erik Holmer, and little depth at the other skill positions. In addition to Holmer, they’ll be forced to lean heavily on running backs Tyson Ernst of Fallon and Ty Shepard of Reed.
The Silver squad would be in better shape if it weren’t for Lowry and Douglas. Among the 10 players selected from both schools — five from each — only one is participating, Lowry lineman Cody Andersen, who injured his shoulder in practice and is a game-time decision Friday, Shaffer said.
“We have only one from Lowry, and all the kids from Douglas decided not to play. That’s been kind of the dilemma, when a whole school drops out instead of just one or two players,” Shaffer said, adding that they could have used the arm of Douglas quarterback Michael Nolting.
Despite the lack of numbers, however, every Silver all-star will play exclusively on one side of the ball, as Shaffer does not want to overwhelm his players with too much info in a short span. The teams have only three full days of practice, with the fourth day, Thursday, serving as more of a walk-through.
“We’re going to two-platoon our kids,” Shaffer said. “We split them up between offense and defense, and they only play on one side of the ball, plus special teams. We just figure that in three or four days, it’s pretty tough to teach them both sides of the ball. So even though we don’t really have the numbers to justify it, we decided to do it anyway.
“And, of course,” Shaffer added, “you do have to simplify what you do, because there’s only so much they can absorb in that short period of time. You don’t want paralysis by over analysis, where they aren’t doing anything because they aren’t sure what to do. You’d rather them do a few things well, and live or die with that.”
Truckee players include Holmer, Jake Pettit, Javier Virrey, Tyler Griffin, Julian Aguirre, Nico Duner and Benito Gurrola.
Lining up against them on the Blue squad will be North Tahoe’s Buster Fenley and Incline’s Brendon Steinmeyer. The Blue team is led by Damonte Ranch coach Shawn Dupris and his staff.
Cost is $10 per ticket and children 5 and under are free.