Spirited Vikings fall to Wooster on homecoming (Gallery)
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — With about 9 minutes to go Friday night against Wooster, South Tahoe needed a spark with its homecoming game slipping away.
In front of a rambunctious student body that chanted throughout the game and fans packing the bleachers leaving standing room only, James Adams brought everybody to their feet.
The Vikings senior running back took a handoff, ran right, got some key blocks on the perimeter, cut back and left all Wooster defenders in his wake as he sprinted down the home sideline 73 yards for a touchdown. He also ran in the two-point conversion to bring the Vikings to within one score, 21-15, with 8:44 left in the game.
“It was the blocking,” a modest Adams said. “We ran an outside zone play and they split it open perfectly and I found the hole and ran.”
“James, what do you say about the kid?” said Vikings head Coach Jeff Cheek. “We had two guys playing on the offensive line who’ve never played there and one who has only played there for a week and a half. We’re not blocking for him. That one long scoring play was well blocked by the receiver, tight end and right tackle. We got 3-on-3 and if you give James anything, he’ll hurt you. But with 2 minutes left, it was a one possession game.”
The Vikings had two more possessions down by just one score and the crowd tried to help push across another score with chants of, “One more touchdown, one more touchdown.”
But both chances went nowhere and Wooster added another score on fourth down with 1:45 left to seal a 27-15 victory.
“Oh man, it was a tough loss for us, it hurts a lot,” said Adams, who rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries and also caught three passes for 51 yards. “There was nothing we could do to play any harder than we did. We lost four or five people to injury during the game. People were getting rotated in and out, switching jerseys and playing positions they’ve never played before. But our team played so hard. Last year we were so talented we could kill teams. This year we don’t have as much talent but we have way more heart. I’m excited for the future. Once we get everybody together, uninjured, our whole 25-player team, we’ll be very good.”
The Vikings got the ball to start the game and didn’t give it back to Wooster until they led 7-0.
The Vikings went 55 yards on nine plays, capped by an Adams 11-yard scoring run. Key plays on the drive were a 15-yard pass to Adams and a 11-yard first down run by speedster Joel Gomez.
South Tahoe forced a Wooster turnover on its opening drive near midfield, but couldn’t extend the lead. But the Vikings pinned the Colts deep in their own territory with a punt that bounced inside the 10-yard line and was downed at the Wooster 1.
But apparently the Colts had the Vikings right where they wanted them.
Wooster’s 6-foot-1, 230-pound running back, Ladontrea Lendon, on the first play of the drive ran to the right, dodged a defender and 99 yards later was celebrating in the endzone. The Colts converted a 2-point conversion off a broken extra point attempt to take the lead they would never surrender with 3:28 left in the first quarter.
The Vikings had a golden opportunity to grab the lead in the second quarter after Cristian Toro intercepted a pass at about the Wooster 20. During the return he fumbled but Adams was there to pick it up and ran it down to the 6.
Two plays later a touchdown pass was negated due to a personal foul blindside block that pushed the ball all the way out to the 29. On the next play the Vikings fumbled and Wooster all of a sudden had first down on its own 42.
Wooster also had a chance to score just before halftime, but a perfectly thrown bomb was dropped by a wide open receiver inside the Vikings 10.
The Colts started the second half with the ball and promptly went up by two scores after a 7-play 58-yard drive to make it 14-7. The extra point was blocked.
Wooster scored again on its next drive and grabbed control, 21-7, with 1:38 to go in the third quarter.
“We fought to the end,” said Gomez, who was switched from receiver to quarterback when starter Trenton Schouten went down in the second quarter with an injury. “We’re still a young team with a new coach that we got very late, no practice time then being evacuated for a couple of weeks really took a toll on us. We’re getting better and better but this week we had a ton of injuries.”
“Our center went down on the first play, the right guard didn’t go to school today, our quarterback got hurt, four guys went out with possible concussions, we had to switch jerseys on players and got a delay of game penalty to get a new jersey for a kid changing positions — I’ve never seen anything like it,” Cheek said. “But this is the toughest group of kids I’ve ever coached.”
The Vikings hit the road for a clash against North Valleys (5-0, 2-0 Northern West League) on Friday in Reno. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
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