The three days Truckee’s Pop Warner Mitey-Mite Whites practiced before Saturday’s game, Brian Baker was asked constantly if he knew what he was doing.
On Wednesday, head coach Jake Moule asked, “We are running the right 844 counter. Brian, do you know what you are doing on this?”
Thursday, quarterback Tavin Hamilton barked out the play in the huddle and then took Baker aside and asked if he knew what he was doing on the “right 848 quick pitch.”
By the time Friday’s practice rolled around, Baker was barking back before any of the coaches or his fellow players could finish asking. “Yes, I know what to do,” Baker quipped.
Baker’s coaches and 8- and 9-year-old teammates failed to conceal their concern that Baker had gotten the nod to start Saturday’s game as Truckee’s starting running back against the Fallon Greenwave.
Baker had run the ball in previous games but with limited success. Baker was getting the start as the regular starter, as Jackson Kahl was unavailable for personal reasons.
Saturday in Fallon, all the questions stopped. Baker no longer had to answer anything after he tucked in a handoff and blasted around the left side for Truckee’s longest play from scrimmage this year, a 72-yard touchdown.
Baker complimented his touchdown run with an 18-yard reception and two other runs that totaled 104 yards at the end of Truckee’s 20-6 win over the Greenwave.
“I could not have asked any more from them,” Moule said of Baker and the rest of the Wolverines. “I am extremely proud of them.”
Moule had a lot to be proud of as the Truckee offense produced its highest output of any game this season, compiling 238 total yards.
Baker answered for over half Truckee’s offense, but he was not alone. The team’s leading rusher, Carson Jensen, ran for 48 yards on six carries, including an 8-yard touchdown run around the right side. The score capped Truckee’s six-play opening drive and put the Wolverines up 7-0.
After Jensen pierced the goal line, Hamilton did the same 3:42 later when he started his quarterback keeper to the left and then zigzagged into the end zone 18 yards later.
The two touchdowns were interrupted by the Greenwave’s lone touchdown on the fourth play of their opening drive which made the score 13-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Baker’s 72-yard touchdown came on the second play of the second quarter and brought an end to the game’s scoring with the scoreboard’s 20-6 display holding up until the end of the game.
Both running backs, Hunter Hansell and Ryland Morrison, almost got the scoreboard to change. Hansell was brought down at the Greenwave’s 10-yard line after a gain of 8 and Fallon’s last tackler on another third-quarter play tripped up Morrison after 11 yards gained.
Hansell finished the game with 12 yards on three attempts. Morrison finished with 8 yards on the same number of carries. Running back Peter Reoutt contributed 4 yards on a single carry when he went untouched on a successful point after touchdown in the second quarter.
Hamilton finished the day with 24 yards from three carries. He also led Truckee in passing. He completed three of his four passes to three different receivers for 38 yards.
Defensively, Hamilton had to share top tackler honors with Jensen. Both rotated with each other in and out of the left linebacker and defensive end positions. Both finished with 14 tackles, tying a single-game record for the Mitey-Mite Whites.
Hamilton led his team in solo and behind the line tackles. Hamilton finished with five solo tackles and four that dropped Greenwave runners behind the line of scrimmage.
Linebacker Hansell played his best defensive game and finished with his personal-best 13 tackles. He matched Hamilton’s solo tackles number and also led the team with three special teams tackles.
Just off the pace, linebacker Jacob Moule brought down nine runners. Four of those runners were halted on four second-quarter runs that netted 0 yards.
Just behind Moule, linebacker Matthew Seline played one of his best games with eight tackles. He also snuck in a “twig-snapping” motion over his knee after one of his tackles that was subtle enough to not draw a flag but certainly drew chuckles from his teammates.
Following Seline, Baker decided to further quiet his critics and tackled a personal-best seven Greenwaves from his cornerback position.
Defensive tackle Quinn Krommenhoek continued his strong defensive effort and followed his best performance of nine tackles last week with seven tackles against Fallon.
Linebacker Caige Maran finished one tackle behind Krommenhoek. Half of Maran’s six tackles were on third downs.
Cornerback Jesse Espinoza was busy defending several passes and also contributed six tackles.
Defensive end Reoutt pressured the quarterback and shot up the right side of the line to disrupt most of the 39 offensive plays the Greenwave ran and finished with six tackles.
Defensive tackle Sam Marr matched his best effort and dropped five runners attempting to run up his middle lane.
Linebacker Beck Wilson culminated his best week of practice with his best defensive effort Saturday. Wilson’s five tackles against the Greenwave were his first tackles of the season.
Special teamer Morrison contributed his solo tackle on a kick off, but his biggest play of the game was recovering a fumble in the fourth quarter.
The Mitey-Mite Whites will take on Reno North at Spark’s Golden Eagle Park on Saturday at 8 p.m.