2020: 3-2 (No League Games) The Year of Covid-19 CIF Schedule due to California Mandates
Heading into February 2020 everything looked great for the Truckee Wolverine Football team. Offseason workouts were in full swing and the Wolverines had high hopes heading into the 2020 football season. Truckee had a rough start to the 2019 football season but made progress weekly finishing off their season on a six game win streak which included a 48-7 win over the Elko Indians in the first round of the playoffs. Truckee would then travel to Fernley to take on the Vaqueros. This was a game for the ages. Truckee would take Fernley to the bitter end of this game nearly completing an upset. In the end it was Fernley who advanced with a 35-28 win. Fernley would go on to win a State Championship over Fallon who fielded arguably one of their best team in school history. Truckee had few holes to fill heading into the 2020 season and the future was looking very promising. One of the holes that would need to be filled was the 800 plus yards and seven TD’s from graduating senior Deacon Mehler. This gaping hole would be filled in January when Tyler Curry moved to Truckee. Curry was a 5’7″ 200 pound wrecking ball who played with a chip on his shoulder. He was immediately welcomed into the Truckee football family. Anders Norman would also return to the team after taking a year off. Anders was a 6′ 220 pound beast who was missed during the 2019 season. Many of Truckee’s football players were out for the track team in the spring of 2020 and momentum was building. Truckee was building power and speed and team chemistry looked to be very strong. Everything appeared to be heading in the right direction for Truckee and the team knew they would have a good chance of making a deep run into the playoffs in the fall of 2020. Then suddenly on March 13th everything came to a screeching halt…across the globe. Covid-19 had hit the US and everything shutdown. A government shutdown for 15 days to slow the spread of Covid turned into a two year debacle where we saw the death of many fellow Americans. We would also see the death of Normalcy and it was replaced with rules, guidelines, and mandates that would change how we all see the world.
It’s hard to explain the mindset at the time everything was shutdown. One thing I do remember thinking is that we’d be back in school after Spring Break. At the worst I thought that Track season would be canceled. It never crossed my mind that a shutdown that had started in March would carry into the summer months and right into the next school year. That’s exactly what happened and not only was “in person” school in jeopardy, sports for the 2020/2021 school year was looking very grim. While many States across the US pressed forward and played fall athletics, California and Nevada were at a standstill. In August Nevada postpones all athletics until further notice. The reality was starting to set in that a football season might not take place. A devastating thought for all of our athletes but especially our seniors.
March 13th, 2020 the world was locked down due to Covid-19. Then On March 12th, 2021, exactly one year later, the Wolverines took the field in one of the most bizarre football seasons of all time. Though many parts of the US decided to go along with Fall sport seasons, the Western States did not follow suit. Both Nevada and California canceled sports until further notice. Most schools in these two states did not have “In person” school for most of the school year and many places no “in person” instruction at all. In December and January Covid cases peaked throughout the US and it looked like sports had no chance of taking place in the 2020/2021 school year. However, teenage depression was on the rise and getting kids involved in extracurricular activities became a priority. Once February hit cases started to drop and the discussion to have athletics increased. Eventually all the Western States, who had been keeping kids locked in their houses, started finding solutions to get kids playing sports again. Finally, on February 17th, Nevada gave many kids hope and announced that athletics can return. Sports were back! California would follow two days later clearing all sports to play. However, the return to sports came with heavy rules and guidelines. Football would have to perform Covid testing on a weekly bases, distancing rules, and mask mandates also remained in place. While we were all very excited that we’d get a chance to play, we also knew the odds were stacked against us. It would take just one positive Covid case to shut it all back down. The amount of stress and planning was about to increase exponentially but none of that mattered. The only thing that mattered was giving the kids a chance to get back out on the field to do what they loved and nothing was going to stop our efforts. Weaving through politics, restrictions, field conditions, and naysayers proved to be worthy opponents. The Wolverines would battle through it all and 488 days from their last game they took the field vs Union Mines. It was a euphoric feeling like no other. A feeling that only those who were immediately involved in the 3 weeks prior could truly understand.
The Wolverines came out fired up in game one and rolled over Union Mine 24-0 to start off the season. In week two Truckee would again have to overcome a lot just to get to their second game. This was Truckee’s first home game but it would not be played in Truckee. Due to a snow covered field Truckee would play Sutter at Placer High School in Auburn. Truckee would leave Truckee and head over Donner Summit in a snowstorm and encounter several crashes slowing down their travel. It took 3 hours to get to Auburn. After finally arriving at Placer high school, the Wolverines would then find out that there were no officials. Sutter High School would contact the North section officials to ask if they could help and thankfully they rushed a crew to us. It would take a bit for the officials to get to us and the game was delayed even further. This did not stop the two schools from competing. Once the two teams hit the field under the lights, it was one exciting night. The two teams would battle in a very tight game. With just under 3 minutes left Truckee would tie the game 7-7 on a touchdown pass from Jackson Kahl to Max Carter. But Sutter would respond and drove down the field to go up 14-7 with just a minute and 15 seconds to go. After a decent Kickoff return Truckee would make quick work of things and get into striking distance. On a first down from Sutter’s 30 yard line Truckee appeared to have the right play called. Tyler Curry motioned out of the backfield into an empty formation. Kahl would snap the ball, drop back, and find Max Carter for the tying touchdown! However, Sutter’s corner made a great break on the ball and hit Max right when he was trying to bring in the catch. The ball was jarred loose and the game would end in a loss for Truckee 14-7. It was a great battle. So good the two teams agreed to play again the next season.
After another tough matchup in week 3 Truckee would get back in the win column in week 4. The Wolverines would play their next home against Bear River…this time at Bear River. Yep that’s right a home game at our opponents home field. As strange as it sounds it was one of the most normal days we had experienced in over a year. Truckee’s band was there playing, the stands were packed on both sides, and it was a day game. Something Truckee knows well. Bear River had gotten the better of Truckee in their 2019 matchup and the Wolverines had something to prove in this one. Bear River would come out fighting but Truckee was too strong and would have their way with the Bruins. Truckee’s defense would have another good game putting the offense in great spots all day. Truckee’s offense would take advantage and they would roll to a big win 36-0. Truckee was now 2-2 and looking to finish their season strong traveling to 5A Galena in week 5. This would be the only game Truckee would play against a Nevada school. Up to this game Truckee parents were able to attend their kid’s games in California. That wasn’t the case for this game. Washoe county had a rule in place
preventing visiting teams to have fans. This didn’t stop Truckee’s fans. They packed into the surrounding hills with a huge sound system and blasted TnT all night long. The Wolverines would ride the momentum and dominate the bigger school beating the Grizzlies 19-6. That’s how the season would end. Truckee would go 3-2 in one of the most bizarre seasons of all-time. It would be the longest and shortest season of all-time as well. Truckee would never get a chance to play on their home field and were lucky to have a place to practice. And though it was only five games, it was one of the toughest schedules Truckee had played in a many years. Overall we were lucky to have a football season and we are all grateful it happened. Now we turn our attention to the 2021 football season where we hope and pray it resembles something from the distant past.