Vikings football tramples Railroaders in front of big home crowd
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe took its lumps last year on the gridiron but through three games this season, the Vikings have have been the ones beating down opponents.
Jake Tarwater threw three touchdown passes, including two to Giovani Medina Morales, and James Adams ran for another score Friday night as South Tahoe (2-1, 1-1 3A Northern League) erased an early deficit and roared to a big first half lead en route to a 30-13 victory over the Sparks Railroaders (1-2, 0-2 Northern) in front of a full house at Viking Stadium.
“I wish we could have finished a couple of more drives in the second half, but it was a good all around game in all three phases,” said Vikings head coach Louis Franklin.
The crowd was thin to begin, but part way through the first quarter, after the Vikings volleyball team routed Spring Creek a couple hundred yards away, the entire school looked like it stuffed the football stands and many people stood around the field.
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The Vikings offense rolled most of the first half.
Tarwater’s first pass of the game was a bullet that hit his receiver with a thud right between his numbers for 15 yards.
Later in the drive, Tarwater hit Jeremy Smiley on a slant for a 16-yard touchdown and a quick 6-0 lead.
Sparks answered and grabbed its only lead of the game, 7-6, halfway through the opening quarter.
The stands by then had filled in and the student body stood, cheered and were loud the entire night.
“It was great to fill up the bleachers,” Franklin said. “ The students and community came out in force.”
The Vikings went to the ground to take the lead for good.
James Adams gained chunks of yards on the next drive and finished it with a 19-yard burst with 2 minutes, 18 seconds left in the first quarter, which took nearly an hour to complete.
Medina Morales gave the Vikings some space on the scoreboard with a 22-yard field goal and then made the catch of the game, on the pass of the game.
Tarwater fired a bullet through a narrow window between defenders and Medina Morales went into a full dive at the goal line and hauled in the 20-yard scoring toss.
The Vikings lead 23-7 at halftime.
South Tahoe added another score in the second half when Tarwater hit Medina Morales on a 30-yard seam pass.
Franklin was real pleased with his special teams, especially with the kicking from Medina Morales. His field goal, a couple of his punts pinned Sparks inside their own 10 and also all of his kickoffs went into the endzone for touchbacks.
“Special teams were great,” Franklin said. “Gio had a great game. We had a lot of guys out with injury and kids stepped up. D played well against a very explosive team.”
For the game, Tarwater completed 16 of 23 passes for 278 yards, Mason Hage caught 11 of those passes for 193 yards and Medina Morales had three catches for 51 yards. Adams gained 150 yards on 17 carries.
The Vikings have already doubled their win total from last season, but they have much higher expectations with most all of the players returning a year older and stronger.
But now the Vikings get into the meat of their season with games coming up against Spring Creek next Friday at home, Fernley and Fallon on consecutive weeks.
They want to make it back to the playoffs and are going to need to beat some of the perennial playoff contenders in the Northern League.
“We talk about the high expectations we have for this group,” Franklin said. “We’re not satisfied and there’s no easy game on the schedule. They seen the success some past groups have had, like when McCallan Castles was here a couple years ago, they want that success too.”
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