BEHIND THE PLATE: DI-A football up for grabs already

Don’t be shocked if there’s a dogfight for the top playoff seed this year.

After dominating the Division I-A the last four seasons, Truckee’s powerhouse football program has returned to Earth, allowing the rest of the Northern Division I-A to battle for supremacy in 2013.

Lowry, Fallon, Elko and even Spring Creek are still undefeated as the season enters Week 4. Elko got the upper hand against Fernley last week with a three-touchdown win to stay perfect and Dayton recorded its first win of the year against Truckee on the road.

Truckee? The same Truckee that won four state titles? The Wolverine program that once reeled off 41-straight wins until last season?

Yes, that Truckee. And it hasn’t been pretty.

Dayton dominated Truckee, 35-14, sending another shockwave that the Wolverines are trying to find their groove since Bob Shaffer retired after last season. But even with promoted defensive coordinator Josh Ivens now leading the team, the most surprising news about Truckee’s 0-2 start is not the losses but the margin of defeat.

Twenty-one points to Dayton last week and 48 to Lowry two weeks ago. And how many points has Truckee scored in those two defeats? Fourteen, total.

The Wolverines are in a major transition with a new head coach but equally puzzling is how this defense, which has been so dominating since last decade, is only 17 points away from hitting the century mark in just three games.

The season is definitely taking an odd shape as we see Truckee’s supremacy in limbo, but despite the horrendous start for the California school, don’t count the Wolverines out of the playoffs yet. Last year’s state title wasn’t a fluke as Truckee seemed extremely vulnerable after losing to Fernley at home.

With Truckee’s 0-2 start, you can’t ignore the fast starts from Elko, Fallon, Lowry and Spring Creek.

The Indians, who finished 4-5 last year, are 2-0 after a 55-0 smackdown against Sparks and then upsetting Fernley 27-6 in the home opener. Elko, though, gets another test tonight when it hosts Truckee before traveling to Fallon next week.

Fallon, still relying on the big play, is the only team in the North that eclipsed 100 points on offense against league opponents after beating Wooster, 61-12, and South Tahoe, 53-7. The Greenwave welcomes Dayton for an intriguing dual after the Dust Devils thoroughly thrashed Truckee last week.

Like Fallon, Lowry has amassed massive numbers on offense, including 56 points against Battle Mountain, 48 against Truckee and 30 at Wooster. But the Buckaroos were actually down by nine points at halftime against the Colts until they woke up to win by two touchdowns.

Spring Creek has spent many seasons in the basement of this league, but the Spartans are off to a good start with big wins over Dayton and Sparks. Their next true test doesn’t come until two weeks when they visit Fernley for homecoming and then Truckee the following week. The Vaqueros look to get above .500 with three games against teams that finished with losing records last year before facing Truckee at home.

The league season is not even at the midway point and you’re already seeing some eye-popping headlines. From Truckee’s unusual start to four undefeated teams remaining to the high offensive production, 2013 looks to be another memorable year that could see a Nevada school win state.

Thomas Ranson can be contacted at


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