South Tahoe’s football home opener spoiled by Spring Creek

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A stingy Spring Creek defense spoiled the South Tahoe football team’s season opener at home Saturday afternoon.

The Spartans walled up the Vikings all game, forcing punt after punt on the way to a 33-7 win.

“On defense, it’s just details,” said Spring Creek Head Coach A.J. Wilson. “We’ve got some things to clean up, but there’s definitely a lot to build on there.”

Spring Creek opened an early lead after junior running back Christian Dorame found the end zone on a fourth-down handoff from the Vikings 6-yard line. Junior Austin Reasbeck’s kick was good to give the Spartans a 7-0 lead.

Spring Creek added to its lead in the second quarter, capping off a drive with sophomore offensive lineman Colin Banning moving into the backfield and plowing his way across the goal line. The Spartans would strike again on their following drive, converting a fourth-and-long pass from senior quarterback Weston Peterson to senior Klayten Piippo for a 32-yard touchdown. South Tahoe junior Allen Aparicio blocked the extra point attempt, leaving the score at 20-0.

Midway through the third quarter Spring Creek got its offense going again, marking the first time either team moved the chains during the second half. Peterson would later find Piippo on a third-and-long play, streaking up the middle for a 37-yard touchdown.

In the fourth quarter, Peterson connected with senior David Hutchison on a 14-yard touchdown pass to make the score 33-0.

One of the few bright spots for the Vikings occurred toward the end of the fourth quarter when sophomore Anthony Morales broke off a 70-yard run before being tackled on the 5-yard line. Morales later capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Morales led the Vikings with 110 yards on 12 carries.

Senior quarterback JD Cotto completed four of eight pass attempts for 13 yards.

Defensively, South Tahoe started in a hole most the game, opening the majority of possessions in their own territory. The Vikings, though, were often able to minimize the damage.

“With this group, they’ll keep fighting,” said second year Vikings Head Coach Jeff Cheek. “We’ve just got to build off that.”

Sophomore Elias Aguilar, junior Ethan Paine, and Aparicio led South Tahoe with five tackles each. Sophomore Dylan Hilton recorded the team’s only sack, and senior Matthew Norling had three tackles for a loss.

Offensively, South Tahoe found success on a pair of drives at the end of each half, but otherwise was forced into three-and-outs time and again by the Spartans defense.

After jumping into a head coaching role right before the 2021 season, Cheek said he may have opened the play book too much going into game one, citing a lack of execution as the main cause for the Vikings’ loss.

“Part of the problem,” he said. “Because we’ve been here together for so long, we had a little more in (the play selection) than they could handle.”

South Tahoe (0-1, 0-0 West League) will travel to face Fernley (0-1, 0-0 East League) on Friday at 7 p.m. The Vaqueros fell 38-14 at Lowry last Friday.

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