Vikings can’t keep up with Fernley | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Vikings can’t keep up with Fernley

Joe Proudman
jproudman@tahoedailytribune.com

Joe Proudman / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – South Tahoe’s Jacob Stowell rushed for 238 yards. John Cefalu passed for 143 yards. The Vikings totaled for nearly 450 yards on offense. But Fernley had the number that mattered.

The Vaqueros out-lasted the Vikings en route to a 41-28 win over South Tahoe. Fernley was led by their standout quarterback Kenny Bradley, who had his way with the Vikings on the ground and through the air.

“He’s good, he’s really good,” said Vikings head coach Kevin Hennessee. “At this point, from the games that we’ve played, he’s the best one I’ve seen.”

The Vikings went into the half leading the Vaqueros 28-21 after Stowell rushed for 208 yards and three touchdowns and Cefalu had 119 yards with one passing TD to Nesbitt. The Vikings took the opening drive 72 yards in seven plays that were all to Stowell. The Vikings forced Fernley to punt on their opening drive, but when the Vaqueros got the ball back after a South Tahoe three-and-out, they drove 61 yards in seven plays to even the score with a 1-yard touchdown by Bradley.

The two high-powered offenses would swap scores for the rest of the half, with Fernley taking the lead 21-14 at one point. It was 21-21 after Stowell rushed 62 yards untouched for a touchdown. After that Fernley turned around and started driving on the Vikings with about a minute left in the half, but on a 32-yard pass from Bradley to Charlie Cooper, Stowell laid a big hit on the receiver, forcing a fumble and giving South Tahoe the ball on the 14 yard line.

The Vikings began their most impressive drive of the night with 54 seconds on the clock. A Fernley personal foul in the middle of the drive put the ball on the other side of mid-field on the 45 yard line, and a Pierce Bickert 18-yard run put the ball at the 27 yard line with 29 seconds left. The Vikings, out of time outs, hustled to the line and with 13 seconds left, Cefalu snapped the ball and hit Nesbitt over the middle for a 27 yard touchdown and the lead going into the half.

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But that would be the last points the Vikings would score, as Fernley came out at the half and ate South Tahoe up with Bradley rolling out for short passes. The Vikings were limited in to just three defensive backs, which the Vaqueros exploited.

“That’s a high powered offense and we were already low on linebackers and DBs and they just kind of found our weaknesses and went after it,” Hennessee said. “We kind of got forced into something we didn’t really want to be in.”

The opening drive in the second half was all Bradley, as he passed for 61 yards and rushed for 6 yards, hitting Erik Wilson for a 15-yard touchdown to tie it at 28-28. Their next drive was for 99-yards, after a Vikings punt pinned them down at the 1 yard line. Again, it was all Bradley who passed for 78 yards and rushed for 21 yards on the drive that ended with a 7-yard TD pass to Tim Klotz to make it 34-28 after a blocked PAT. Fernley’s final touchdown came from Jeremy Ruiz on a drive that saw him rush for 57 yards on five plays, including a 5-yard touchdown run.

“It was a really good game, I thought we were competing, we were getting it done, and then somewhere in the third, fourth quarter we just kind of blinked,” Hennessee said. “They just kind of wore us down, we couldn’t keep the pace scoring wise.”