Sparked by an all-around team effort Friday night, the Coleville Wolves kicked off their season with a 50-16 nonconference 8-man football victory at Eureka.
While Jacob Park rushed for 169 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead the offensive charge, coach Will Sandy was particularly pleased with the many contributions he saw from a shorthanded team that had only 17 players suit up.
“It was kind of a neat team effort,” Sandy said. “We only had 16 healthy kids at the end, but we had contributions from everybody, which was good to see.”
Even though they were unable to play their scheduled opener against Smith Valley one week before due to smoke from the Rim fire in nearby Yosemite, the Wolves came out strong to score on their opening four possessions of the night. Coleville led 36-0 at halftime and 50-0 at the end of three quarters.
The only downside came when junior lineman Jack Peters went down in the second quarter with a knee injury — the extent of which is still unknown, according to Sandy. That is critical for a team that has already lost Josh Disbro and Matt Clark to season-ending knee injuries, however, Sandy noted that other players stepped up to contribute against the Eureka Vandals.
Senior Matt Algeo helped create offensive opportunities with his play at guard and then center, after Peters was injured. Junior Ashton Mitchell moved in to play guard on offense and also turned in a strong performance at defensive end with 7 solo tackles, 2 assists and a fumble recovery. Yet another bright spot was Kyle Koskin, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior in his first football season, who had 3 solo tackles and 3 assists at nose tackle.
Sophomore linebacker Ricky Gieser was the leader defensively with 8 solo tackles, 9 assists and an interception. Joel Gomez also had 4 solo tackles, 5 assists and a fumble recovery, while Seth Huhta was in on 5 solo tackles at defensive end.
Huhta had a good day at quarterback, as the senior went 8-for-12 for 176 yards and 3 touchdowns in the passing department. He rushed for another 18 yards and scored a touchdown.
Nestor Gutierrez caught 5 passes for 120 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown reception. Miguel Saldivar caught one pass for a 27-yard touchdown.
Park broke loose for a 41-yard run the first time he touched the ball and scored on a 26-yard screen pass later in the opening quarter.
“There were some little things we had to work out early on, things you normally work out in a scrimmage,” Sandy said. “We got a lot better as the game went on. We just need to keep plowing ahead, and adjust, and we’ll be competitive. It’s going to be tough, though. We’ve got some tough games coming up.”
Coleville is scheduled to play its home opener on Saturday against North Tahoe, a program that has gone independent this season in order to play 8-man football. The Wolves will be back at home on Sept. 21 to open their league season against Whittell.