Golden Bears to practice at STHS |

Golden Bears to practice at STHS

By Steve Yingling

Tribune sports editor

South Tahoe High won’t be the best football team to set foot in Viking Bowl this fall, that much is already known.

No disrespect to the playoff-hungry Vikings, but Jeff Tedford and his nationally ranked California Golden Bears are scheduled to practice on STHS’s field Aug. 21.

South Tahoe has moved up a scrimmage with Truckee to next Friday to accommodate the Golden Bears’ plans.

STHS Athletic Director Don Borges was unavailable to comment but senior quarterback Mikey Van Gorden said the Golden Bears are definitely coming. Several South Tahoe coaches confirmed Cal was coming but chose to defer to administrators to make the announcement.

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“I have the feeling that there will be some of our players out there watching,” Van Gorden said.

California’s sports information department was unaware of Tedford’s plans on Thursday afternoon, but it’s not unusual for the Golden Bears to train offcampus.

“We used to do training camp off site, but since Tedford has been the coach it has been on site the last three years. Prior to that, it was in Turlock for a number of years and in Santa Rosa before that,” said Herb Benenson, a sports information employee at Cal for the past 15 years.

Tedford reportedly wants to practice at altitude to help prepare his team for its Sept. 4 season opener at Air Force, which has an elevation similar to South Lake Tahoe at 7,000 feet.

Van Gorden said the Golden Bears nearly backed out of the high-elevation practice after learning of the poor condition of the Vikings’ field. The grass is patchy because South Tahoe plowed the field of snow last November so the Vikings could host a regional semifinal playoff game against Reno. The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association was considering switching the game’s site if STHS couldn’t make the field playable.

California enters the 2004 season with large expectations. The Golden Bears are ranked 15th in the preseason ESPN/USA Today, 22nd by Sports Illustrated and second in the preseason Pac-10 poll.