Reeling Reno visits Vikings for homecoming game |

Reeling Reno visits Vikings for homecoming game

Steve Yingling

Confidence can go a long way in turning around a football season.

That’s why Reno High coach Dan Avansino is concerned this week and South Tahoe High coach Nick Samaras is more upbeat.

Reno lost some swagger last Saturday in a 6-3 upset loss at previously winless Wooster, while the Vikings gained some hope following a 52-0 dismantling of Foresthill.

The two teams meet Saturday in South Lake Tahoe in what amounts to a key Sierra Division contest. A Huskies’ loss could send them tumbling toward a possible cellar finish, while the Vikings have an opportunity to create a surprising season by winning their homecoming.

“It’s a good building point, but we’re going to need a really good week of practice to play with Reno,” said Samaras earlier in the week.

A potential 0-2 division start created a serious atmosphere and an identity crisis on the Reno campus this week.

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“It’s a must win for us,” Avansino said. “We’ve basically gone back to the basics, not scheme-wise, but all week long has been about the fundamentals of football: blocking, tackling and finding a passion for the game.

“It’s about finding out who we are … what we’re truly made of.”

Avansino said his squad made the mistake of giving Wooster reason to believe it could play with the Huskies early in the contest.

“They got a spark early against us and that spark turned into a flame by the end. We’re hoping to extinguish any sparks South Tahoe might hope to get and start one of our own,” Avansino said.

Reno quarterback John Dankworth has been picked off five times in three games, but Avansino said he has been impressed with his junior’s play.

“He’s really been our leader and he’s made some great plays,” Avansino said.

An air attack may not be advisable if the Vikings’ secondary can duplicate last week’s performance. Chris Diana intercepted three passes and the Vikings returned two of their six picks for touchdowns.

“Everyone is pretty confident about that game now,” Diana said. “Wooster hadn’t scored just like us and they beat Reno.”

Reno’s only win is a 37-12 rout of Fallon, but the Huskies played unbeaten Spanish Springs tough, losing 20-7.

Game time is 1:30 p.m.