Truckee Wolverines Season Preview
The high school football season begins Today. With that being said we are continuing our previews within our local area. Today's team: Truckee (Calif.).
2022 record: 11-1 overall, 5-0 league
Head coach: Josh Ivens, eleventh season at Truckee (68-34 overall, 50-22 league in ten seasons at Truckee)
The Truckee Wolverines begin this season coming off their first state championship in almost a decade. Expectations have risen with the success that the Wolverines have gotten back to over the last seven years. Coach Ivens and his staff are always prepared and ready for battle. This year's edition of the Wolverines is no different as they will be looking to do something that no Truckee team has done since the early 2010's when the program ran off four straight state championships.
During my conversation with Coach Ivens he was quick to point out that his team's success will depend on three things this year. They are "Quarterback play, we had a great quarterback last year in Julian Hall. Replacing him will be huge for our offense." The second thing he mentioned was his team's "development on the offensive line, we are [pretty] young so we need those guys to get up to speed quickly." Lastly, Coach Ivens pointed to the tradition that Truckee has stating that "we must continue to pull together and work towards team success."
The Truckee Wolverines will return nine starters from last year's team and will start 22 different players this year as they have seen an uptick in participation based on their success over the last few seasons. Coach Ivens was quick to point out that "I love playing, would rather play good schools that are our size, than beat up on bigger schools who are twice to three times our size." He doubled down on that saying that he is "Stoked to be back in the Traditional 3A this season" after realignment shuffled some teams around.
Offensively the Wolverines will return five starters from last year's state title winning team. They will continue to run their "Hybrid Wing-T" with multiple counters and misdirection opening up the play-action passing game. The goal with their offense is to get teams to play undisciplined and take advantage of their overaggressiveness at just the right time leading to big plays that swing the momentum of the game in their favor. An interesting note on Truckee's offense from last season: They scored FIFTY TOUCHDOWNS on offense!!!
Defensively Truckee will be returning four starters and they will also be breaking in a new "old' defensive coordinator this year as they welcome back Mike Healey to the controls this season. They will continue to employ their even front "40" Base where they can switch between a 4-4 alignment and a 4-2 alignment. They'll continue to use mainly zone coverage in the secondary. The defense will be looked upon in the early season to get the Wolverines pointed in the right direction.
The Fab Five:
RB/DB Miles Kelly-Caruthers, Senior: Kelly-Caruthers has been a starter on Truckee's defense since he was a Sophomore. He will see his role expanded this season offensively as he proved himself more than capable. In limited action he rushed for 331 yards and seven touchdowns while corralling a handful of passes that led to 155 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He makes his money defensively though as evidenced by his 80 tackles, two interceptions and one forced fumble last season.
LB Max Ellermeyer, Senior: Ellermeyer will man the middle for the Wolverines a year after he was named Co-Defensive Player of The Year in the 3A West and All State by the area's coaches. Last season Ellermeyer accounted for 133 tackles (including 19 TFLs), and five sacks en route to the Wolverines winning the State Championship. He'll be a huge reason for any successes the Wolverines have this season.
RB Luke Trotter, Senior: Trotter is a beast in the backfield. Playing the equivalent of a fullback in Truckee's offense he runs with a ferocity and hits people with the force of a hammerhead shark. He is an old school player with a little wiggle, and some speed to burn. Last season he was responsible for 727 rushing yards to go along with five touchdowns. He also proved to be a capable pass catcher, responsible for 150 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
RB Joe Birnbaum, Junior: The only junior on our list, Birnbaum is probably the fastest player in the Northern 3A. I know for sure that he is at least the fastest man in the 300 hurdles as he has won back-to-back state championships in that discipline. He's poised for a breakout after accounting for 1,097 yards of total offense and 10 TDs last season. He could be this season's Dylan Sumner for Truckee.
DL Rylan Lopez, Senior: A menace on the defensive line Lopez will cause havoc in the middle of Truckee's vaunted 'Red Dawn' defense. Last season he was responsible for 31 tackles (including three tackles for loss) and a sack. He is a strong kid that is in store for a monster season.
The rest of the best:
Look out for but don't be surprised by TE Alfonso Ayala, Senior; OL Israel Estrada, Senior; and Jace Estabrook, Junior breaking out this season for the Wolverines and their continued success. Truckee prides itself on being a program that pursues team success and I believe that the Wolverines will be prepared to go back-to-back this season.
Aug. 18 at Colfax (Calif.)
Aug. 26 vs. East Nicolaus (Nicolaus, Calif.)
Sep. 1 at Damonte Ranch
Sep. 8 at Spring Creek
Sep. 15 vs. Fernley
Sep. 22 vs. Churchill County (Fallon, Nev.)
Sep. 29 vs. Lowry (Winnemucca, Calif.)
Oct. 7 vs. Elko
Oct. 12 vs. Sparks
Oct. 21 at South Tahoe (Lake Tahoe, Calif.)
J. Ray Dockter has been covering high school sports since 2022. If you have a story worth telling let him know via Twitter @J_RayDoc.