THE WOLVERINE ACCORDING TO WIKIPEDIA SAYS IT ALL- The Wolverine, “is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids. The wolverine has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the documented ability to kill prey many times larger than itself.” Wolverines are also known as “The Glutton” they feast without ceasing…they are eternally hungry for more. The Wolverine lives “Hangry” not hungry. Also, according to a current scientific study Wolverines have been spotted and are dwelling just North of Truckee. Something that has not been seen in over 88 years! The Wolverine is alive and well in the Sierra Nevada’s!
This award is given out yearly to reward the player who most exemplify the personality of a Wolverine (The Devil Bear). The Wolverine is pound for pound the toughest, most vicious, and the most feared mammal that roams the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada’s. Something many of Truckee’s opponents have experienced first hand over the years! This is Truckee’s Throwback Player of the Year:
2006 BRIAN CORDELL
Brian Cordell was the first recipient of the Wolverine Award in 2006. Brian played Linebacker and Defensive end. He was the team’s sack leader in 2006 and he always brought good energy to the defense.
2007 & 2008 ROBERT RABER
If you are rewarded with the Wolverine Award as a junior the chances are pretty good you’ll get it as a senior. Raber was our first two time winner. Robert was a tenacious football player and was feared by his opponents. He played fullback and Linebacker. Unfortunately Raber tore his ACL in the Semi-Final game vs Virgin Valley his senior year. So never got to experience playing in a State Championship.
2009 KYLE MULLEN
Kyle was an All-State D-Tackle at 132 lbs. He took on many double teams and was still immovable. He had 63 tackles and 9 sacks in 2009. With a ton of aggressive teammates, Kyle might be the most unlikely candidate for the Wolverine Award. Especially during the first 3 years of his football career at Truckee High. But he put it all together his senior year. He is a classic example of a Truckee kid having success by sheer work ethics in the weight room. He might have only weighed 132 but his output in the weight room was remarkable. His ability to anchor double teams allowed for his teammates to be unblocked and clean up plays in the backfield.
2010 TONY RODRIGUEZ
Tony was all over the field his senior year and he played much bigger than he was. He had 78 tackles and 3 INT’s in 2010. He also blocked 2 FGs. One of which was in the State Championship game. Tony ran plays down from the Free-Safety position in 2010 making those before him proud. He had an exceptional knack to get to the football and will go down as one of the smartest Safeties in Truckee history. He had one of the best tackles of his career in the State Championship his senior year forcing a fumble. He played with passion and intensity.
2011 & 2012 GRAHAM CHRISTIAN
Graham played most of his career with one good arm. Graham was always in opposing team’s backfields wreaking havoc! Graham is our 2nd two time winner. In his last 3 games as a Wolverine he played through a dislocated shoulder. The shoulder came out several times in the State game and never slowed him down. In his two Championship appearances vs Moapa Valley he had 29 tackles. Seven of those tackles for loss. He killed the Pirates to help Truckee capture their 3-Peat and 4-Peat Championships . He might be the most deserving on this list…he’s one of the toughest kids to ever play for Truckee.
2013 MITCH HARRITY
Mitch led Truckee in tackles in 2013 with 87. He had 17 tackles at Sparks and was all over the field. He was far and away the most tenacious Wolverine in 2013, playing Linebacker at just 150 pounds. We was also quite possibly the best O-lineman we had. Harrity was one of the few bright spots during the 2013 season. If we would have had him at backer from the start he would have recorded at least 100 tackles in just 9 games.
2014 WULFE RETZLAFF
Wulfe Retzlaff is the first sophomore recipient of the Wolverine award. It was well earned as he lead his team in tackles with 113 and was a physical presence in every phase of the game. He returns in 2015 to try to better his performance and lead the Wolverines back into the playoffs. Wulfe was a 2nd Team All-North LB and RB.
2015 WULFE RETZLAFF
Wulfe Retzlaff now joins Graham Christian and Robert Raber as a 2 time recipient of the Wolverine Award. He could be the first ever 3 time winner but there are some guys on the team that will challenge him in 2016. In 2015 Wulfe battled through a hip injury that limited him in every game. He still recorded 124 tackles and was our toughest player on the team without a doubt. Wulfe made the All North 2nd team as a LB…something he takes personally. He was clearly a 1st team guy.
2016 WULFE RETZLAFF
Retzlaff is the first 3 time Wolverine winner for Truckee. He is Truckee’s 2nd All-Time tackler with 372! He is littered all over the Truckee record books. Retzlaff was the North’s Defensive MVP and a first Team All-State Linebacker. He was also a 1st team All-League running back and Truckee’s Co-MVP. One of the most unselfish players to play for Truckee and defiantly one of the most physical and that is no exaggeration. Many players in the Nevada 3A North suffered from collisions with Retzlaff. He is well deserving of being our first 3 time winner of the Wolverine award. Wulfe doesn’t fall under the category of pound for pound the toughest…he was just flat out the toughest and most physical player in the North for 3 seasons and that’s why he is Truckee’s first and likely last 3 time Wolverine winner.
2017 MARCUS BELLON
Marcus is a classic Wolverine. Standing at just 5’7″ and 155 pounds, Marcus is the first QB to win the Wolverine award. It might seam odd to those who read this but makes perfect sense to those who played with him and certainly to the 2017 coaching staff. Marcus took some hard hits and always hopped right up. Also, he never let his size dictate his success as he put up passing stats that are comparable to Ben Bolton’s. Marcus threw for 28 TD’s, second to only Bolton. But what ultimately put Marcus over the top for the Wolverine award was his tenacity to win and compete. There was not a bigger competitor on the team. Bellon was also one of Truckee’s best defensive backs. He returns in 2018 to not just duplicate his 2017 season but to improve on it.
2018 DEREK LAFERRIERE
Derek Laferriere AKA “Donnie” terrorized the Nevada 3A in 2018. He excelled at all 3 phases of the game Offense, Defense, and Special Teams. Due to a hip injury in 2017 Derek missed most of his junior season but he more than made up for it his senior year. Laferriere scored 11 TD’s and had over 1,000 all-purpose yards. He was a playmaker for Truckee but he made his living on the defensive side of the ball where he played a nasty style of football. Derek recorded 97 tackles from the free-safety position and most of those were vicious tackles. He was a 1st team All-League Free-Safety and 1st Team All-State Defensive Back. Derek punished all ball carriers that were in his path with his patented “Donnie Jab!” Derek joins a long list of Truckee free-safeties with that throwback mentality and Wolverine like personality!
2019 CONNOR MCMULLEN
Connor McMullen typifies the Wolverine Award. Standing at just 5’5 and 132 pounds Connor was a terror on the football field. He never let size get in the way of him playing big in big games. He was physical, aggressive, and down right nasty. The 2019 season was loaded with McMullen highlights. McMullen was a captain of the 2019 football team and he was our vocal leader. Connor recorded 76 tackles on the season and had 2 HUGE interceptions that changed momentum in both the Lowry game and South Tahoe game. Though he didn’t have big stats on offense he was a guy Truckee could lean on. He scored 4 TD’s on the season and averaged close to 6 yards a carry. Connor practiced with great intensity for all to follow and he will always be remembered as a true WOLVERINE!!!
2020 MICAH IVENS
Micah Ivens put in some serious work in the trenches in both the 2019 and 2020 season. Micah was a two way player that started both on the offensive line and Linebacker. In just five games he recorded 48 tackles during the Covid-19 shortened season. This would have put him on pace to make around 115 tackles. Micah started all but one game for the Wolverines at guard and, like many Wolverines, was undersized. He never let that slow him down as he consistently dominated defenders upfront. When it is all said and done Micah was extremely physical and one of the hardest hitters to come through the program in recent years. Ivens was a 1st Team All-League Linebacker and offensive lineman. Micah is a throwback player. He was never the biggest player on the field but he let his presence be known from the first snap to the last of every game he played in.
2021 JULIAN MAGANA
Julian Magana put together a great season for the Wolverines in the 2021 football season. In just 8 games played he recorded 63 tackles and 7 for loss. He was a handful for his opposition to block. This included practice where he virtually was unblockable. He became one of Truckee’s most fierce players in 2021 and he was just a junior. Magana will return next season bigger, faster, and stronger. He might just push for a MVP award in the 2022 season if he can stay healthy. Until then his 2021 season will go down as one of the great seasons from a defensive end who stood just 5’10 and 170 pounds and that’s why he is the 2021 Wolverine recipient.
2022 MILES KELLY
At just 5’8 and 150 pounds Miles Kelly is pound for pound the toughest football player in the State of Nevada! Kelly is tenacious and puts it all on the line every snap he plays. He terrorizes the opposing team with an aggressive and fearless style of football. He also has that Truckee swagger. Miles is a two year starter at Free-Safety for the Wolverines and he’s coming back next year for his senior campaign. In 2022 Miles had 80 tackles and 2 interceptions. He has 238 career tackles. Miles is a first team All-West DB and 2nd team All-North. He also scored 9 TD’s this past season handling the ball for Truckee. Miles Kelly is a throwback Truckee Football player through and through and will be considered one of the greats to come through the program!
2023 RYLAN LOPEZ
At just 5’7 and 180 pounds Rylan Lopez dominated up front in both 2022 and 2023. He is part of the Back to Back Championships and he’s a 2nd generation State Champ as his Dad won State in 1993. Lopez was the hardest worker in the weight room, never skipping a day, a set, nor a rep. He made the 1000 pound club his junior and is pound for pound one of the strongest kids in the Nevada 3A. Rylan was mostly a defensive player his junior but started both ways for Truckee his senior. He lead the team in Pancakes with 21 and had 6 of these in the State Championship game vs SLAM. Lopez played aggressive and feared no one. He was yet another example of why size is not everything…he excelled in the trenches where he was so often “undersized”…a true WOLVERINE!!!