Sierra not panicking after losing opener

By: Cecil, Sports Editor
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Sam Martinez will get a second chance to lead Sierra College’s offense. Head coach Jeff Tisdel is not blaming last Saturday’s season-opening loss to Butte solely on the freshman quarterback. Martinez had a dismal debut as the Wolverines sputtered on offense in a 27-7 loss. The Casa Roble High School product completed four of 24 passes for 59 yards and threw four interceptions. Tisdel is sticking with Martinez, who will start Saturday in Sierra’s home opener against Sacramento City. Of the four interceptions against Butte, Tisdel said, two were not Martinez’s fault. One was the result of a breakdown in pass protection. The other occurred when a receiver ran the wrong route. There will be one change in the backfield, however. Former Whitney High star Zack Graves will start ahead of sophomore Josh Dupree at running back. Tisdel was impressed with Graves’ effort in the loss. “He showed some flashes,” Tisdel said of Graves, a freshman who sat out last season at Sierra as a grayshirt. “He’s going to get a few more reps this week because he played more consistently.” Turnovers, penalties and “sporadic” blocking by the line contributed to the offense’s woes against Butte, Tisdel said. The defense kept the Wolverines within striking distance until fading in the fourth quarter. “We were down 13-7 with eight minutes left. It was amazing that it was that close,” Tisdel said. “As poorly as we played, we still had a chance. The defense held up, but they got tired because they were on the field so much.” Tisdel does not pull punches when it comes to critiquing his team. As much as “one game doesn’t make a season, “he said, “this was the worst first game we’ve had since I’ve been here.” “Everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” he added. This is Tisdel’s 11th season, so that is saying something. His goal in the opener was for the Wolverines to rush for 205 yards. He was hardly satisfied with just 119 yards of total offense. “I lowered the boom,” Tisdel said of his postgame remarks to the team. “Now we’re building on getting better. We’re going to get better.”