Tarwater ties state record, Vikings roll past Wooster in return to action
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — If South Tahoe does not play another football game this year, what great memories were made Saturday.
Under bright sun, with fresh snow on the mountains, a spattering of family in the stands and a few dozen fans on the surrounding hillsides, the Vikings played like athletes starved for competition and made history.
Jake Tarwater tied a Nevada record with seven touchdown passes, the defense forced five turnovers and South Tahoe rolled past the Wooster Colts 54-14.
“Everyone deserves a shout out, everyone on this team went to work today,” Tarwater said.
“Just to fly around and to start again is crazy, everyone’s energy was so high today,” said Mason Hage, who caught two of those touchdowns.
With the season up in the air due to COVID-19 weekly testing, and with only family members allowed to watch in the stands, the Vikings made the most of their first of four scheduled games.
“We’re not guaranteed next week because of COVID testing so I told the team, ‘Hey we got today, let’s make the most of today,’ and they got the job done,” said Vikings head coach Louis Franklin. “We brought our own energy. We brought it offensively, defensively and special teams.”
Tarwater, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior, showed off his legs as well as his right arm.
His first pass of the game, he rolled out to his left and fired a 20-yard dart that hit the chest of senior receiver Mason Hage. Tarwater released the ball as a defender closed in, and then didn’t stop leading to a roughing penalty.
The big yardage play set up James Adams for a 1-yard plunge to make it 7-0 about five minutes into the game.
Tarwater struck again a few minutes later. He rolled out of the pocket to his right and rifled a perfect strike to Gio Morales Hurtado who was streaking down the sideline. Morales Hurtado had a step on his defender and Tarwater was right on the mark.
South Tahoe took a 21-0 lead when Tarwater rolled to his right and found Hage for a 4-yard score.
The theme continued in the second quarter.
Tarwater rolled out to his left, stopped and fired a pass to Hage in the endzone for a 28-yard touchdown and a 27-0 lead.
After Wooster got on the board, Tarwater added another touchdown right before halftime.
He rolled to his left, stopped and found a wide open Joel Gomez 30 yards downfield. His pass hit Gomez in stride and the sophomore coasted the final distance for a 57-yard score.
With all his completed passes, Franklin was most impressed by one of Tarwater’s incompletions.
“On the football field he processes things so quickly and you can see he’s worked really hard at improving his mobility,” Franklin said. “Today when things broke down, he could make us right by using his presence and processing where he needs to go in the pocket to get the next guy open. The one most impressive one was where he stepped up, threw back to his left and barely overthrew James in the endzone. Just to know to step up and know he was there … “
South Tahoe tortured Wooster with short, screen passes in the second half.
Tarwater hit Adams with a middle screen that went for 48 yards. Three plays later, Tarwater again hit Adams with a short pass he took 20 yards to paydirt.
On the next drive, Tarwater hit Gomez for a 20-yard touchdown and a 47-8 lead.
And that started a running clock with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
Tarwater added one more touchdown in the fourth quarter. He rolled right and hit Morales Hurtado for a 13-yard score.
For the Vikings, Adams finished with nine carries for 76 yards and also caught five passes for 82 yards, Hage had five grabs for 66 yards and was limited by cramps in the second half, Gomez had three catches for 74 yards and Morales Hurtado had two TD catches totaling 47 yards.
The defense limited Wooster to 186 total yards, 60 coming in the Colts final touchdown drive to end the game.
Tarwater finished 15 of 23 for 269 yards and is just thrilled to be playing.
He remembers the extended time off from football, the doubts of whether he’d even play his senior year and the excitement when he learned there would be some kind of season.
“It just felt great to be back out here, I’ve been missing it so much,” Tarwater said. “It’s been tough, but we worked hard the whole time. I did think at a point the season wasn’t going to happen. Being stuck at home. We’d have workouts canceled, it was a real struggle. But when I got the text that we were going to play, words can’t describe how I felt.”
The Vikings next are scheduled to play North Valleys at 6 p.m. Friday in Reno.
ST — James Adams 1 run (Gio Morales Hurtado kick), 7:27
ST — Morales Hurtado 34 pass from Jake Tarwater (Morales Hurtado kick), 2:22
ST — Mason Hage 4 pass from Tarwater (Morales Hurtado kick), :18
ST — Hage 28 pass from Tarwater (kick failed), 10:14
W — Charles Seals 5 pass from Chrstien Smith (Ian Harshbarger run), 3:11
ST — Joel Gomez 57 pass from Tarwater (JD Martinez kick), 1:19
ST — Adams 20 pass from Tarwater (Martinez kick), 6:43
ST — Gomez 20 pass from Tarwater (kick failed), 5:07
ST — Morales Hurtado 13 pass from Tarwater, 10:45
W — Ladontrea Lendon 28 run (run failed), 2:10
PASSING — South Tahoe: Tarwater 15-23-269-0. Wooster: Christien Smith 4-9-18-1.
RUSHING — ST (13-75): Adams 9-76, Tarwater 4-(-1). Wooster (33-168): Lendon 8-109, Smith 10-27, David Berry 5-27, Ivan Strunk 3-3, Hasler Torres 3-1, Jamian Wright 2-1, Jamel Wright 2-0.
RECEIVING — ST (15-269): Hage 5-66, Adams 5-82, Gomez 3-74, Morales Hurtado 2-47. Wooster (4-18): Charles Seals 2-12, Caleb Conway 1-6, Max McFadden 1-0.
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