North Tahoe and Whittell had been exchanging touchdowns all night, but the momentum had finally shifted in Whittell’s favor. The Warriors charged out of halftime to take the lead by one.
But the moment, like every momentum shift in Friday night’s game, was brief.
North Tahoe drove the kick return back for a touchdown and squashed the Warriros’ surge. The Lakers went on to win the non-league game 53-40 at Whittell High School on Friday.
“I think the smoke killed us,” head coach David Housel said, referring to the preseason scrimmage and game Whittell had to cancel. “It was our first time hitting anyone else who wasn’t on our team. And then we basically lost our two starting running backs, but we still almost did it.”
Starting running back Tristan Beckwith came out in the first series with a head injury, and running back Max Primo was in and out with leg cramps. Leg cramps come with the territory of Primo’s three touchdowns and 12 carries for 165 yards in the first game of the season.
It was Primo who put the Warriors on the board first with a fly-sweep on four-and-five. The Lakers answered back, but Alex Barnes, who took over for Beckwith at running back, then ran in a 15-yard touchdown.
Primo struck again in the second quarter. There was some confusion on the field, and the Warriors ended up with seven players instead of eight at their own 35. The play was already underway by the time the Warriors realized, and Primo was on a mission. He broke four or five tackles, found a route through the backfield and ran in a 65-yard touchdown.
Freshman Sam Berry recovered an onside kick, and Dismas Womack intercepted a pass on fourth-and-goal to keep the Lakers from a final touchdown headed into halftime. But even without the final touchdown, North Tahoe was leading 21-16.
The Warriors came out strong in the second half, forced a turnover and Barnes ran in his second touchdown of the night. Barnes had 18 carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
The Lakers responded, but the Warriors went on an eight-minute drive that ended with quarterback Jack Sharp running in a touchdown with no time in the third. The Warriors got the two-point conversion to tie the game at 40-40.
North Tahoe scored again to go up 47-40 with four minutes left. The Warriors started driving, but with Primo out and Beckwith out there weren’t many options left. North Tahoe eventually stopped Whittell on a fourth-and-five and then ran the clock down.
“We’ve got a bye next week so we’re going to condition a little harder,” Housel said.
Sharp was 10-for-13 with 125 yards one touchdown and one interception. He also had 16 carries for 105 yards. Kixmiller had six catches for 101 yards.
UP NEXT: The Warriors will travel to Coleville on Saturday, Sept. 21, for a 1 p.m. game.