Viking gridders beat Hug, host Wooster for homecoming

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe football is coming together as a group after suffering through weeks of hazardous smoke, evacuations and practicing indoors, or not even at all.

The Vikings have played back-to-back games after having their first three contests canceled.

South Tahoe quarterback Trenton Schouten fires a pass during Wednesday’s practice.
Bill Rozak/Tahoe Daily Tribune

Their first game back was against one of the league’s stronger teams, Churchill County, and it wasn’t close.

“We’ve been hanging in there,” said Vikings star senior James Adams. “We didn’t practice for about a month due to the fire and evacuation, so then coming back and having to play one of the better teams in our league was tough. It’s been a struggle, but we’ve had a string of practices and a couple of games in a row so we’re looking better.”

The Vikings bounced back somewhat against Hug last Friday and won 6-0, but it could have been a much bigger victory.

The Vikings left several points on the board due to ill-timed penalties that wiped out two touchdowns and turnovers deep in Hug territory.

“I’m really glad we played Fallon, although it was a tough week,” said Vikings Head Coach Jeff Cheek. “I told the staff going in even if we go in and get blown out, we need the game reps. Looking back on it, we wouldn’t have beaten Hug without that game. We had two TDs called back, we got down to the 10 two other times, we missed a field goal and turned the ball over. It really could have been 28-0 but woulda coulda shoulda.”

Aaron Valencia makes a leaping catch in Wednesday’s practice.
Bill Rozak/Tahoe Daily Tribune

The Vikings broke through about halfway through the fourth quarter when Trenton Schouten hit Adams with a screen pass that went for about 25 yards and the lone score of the game and the first points in their two games.

“The sideline was hyped,” Adams said. “It was a relief that we put some points on the board. We played well defensively, but we struggled a bit on offense with some bad penalties.”

Cheek said receiver Joel Gomez was impressive and made a handful of catches, 8 to 10.

“Joel is a great player and really smart and we ended up putting him at tight end because that’s a crucial position and we need that guy,” Cheek said.

The focus shifts this week to another team from Reno, Wooster, who will be the Vikings homecoming opponent.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

The Colts have won once in four games and Cheek doesn’t know what to make of them yet.

“Their coach is telling me that they are down this year and having problems, but I’m not taking that bait,” Cheek said. “Their quarterback is a big kid who runs around a lot. He can legitimately throw the ball 60-70 yards and they let him chuck it, that’s a concern. And their running back is pretty good. But they’re beatable. If we execute we can beat them, If we don’t play well it’s a crapshoot and they can Fallon us.”

Another aspect of the Vikings Cheek loves is their mental toughness.

“These kids, I found out from Fallon and Hug, they are tough kids,” Cheek said. “They are mentally tough and will fight through a lot of adversity. I yell at them all the time and they overcome it. They’ve been through so much, they are so resilient.”

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