Vikings win first game in thrilling fashion
On a day when defense was lacking at times, the South Tahoe High Vikings secured their first win of the season with a stop when it was absolutely necessary.
The Vikings stuffed a Wooster two-point conversion try in overtime to beat the Colts 35-34 in a Sierra League football game Saturday in Reno.
The Vikings got the ball first in overtime and wasted no time taking the lead. Jacob Stowell, a sophomore, took a handoff and ran 10 yards for the go-ahead score. D.J. Dupuy added the extra point for a 35-28 lead.
Wooster retaliated three plays later to pull within a point and creating a tough decision for the Wooster coaching staff. The Colts declined to go for the tie, and right side of STHS’s line made the game-deciding defensive play to give coach Kevin Hennessee his first victory at his new school.
“The fact that we scored first in overtime says a lot about our kids,” said Hennessee, who was involved in first overtime game as a head coach. “There was no question that stopped them on the two-point conversion. We saw it on film.”
For the first time this season, South Tahoe took a lead into the final 12 minutes.
The Vikings broke a 14-14 tie on Thomas Eidam’s two-yard quarterback keeper with 5:14 to go in the third quarter. Dupuy converted his third extra point of the day for a 21-14 lead.
The go-ahead drive was set up by a Matt Olivares-Laine interception. Olivares-Laine returned the pick to the Wooster 9, but was flagged for a penalty at the end of the play. Another penalty seemingly put the Vikings out of scoring range, but a break on a fourth-down run by Eidam kept the drive alive. As Eidam was running inside the Wooster 25, the ball bounced off the quarterback’s knee and went out of bounds at the 14. The unusual play gave the Vikings a first down. A nine-yard scamper by Stowell and a two-yard run by Eidam set up the quarterback’s short TD run.
“We’re kind of spreading it around,” Hennessee said. “Someone focuses on one part of our game, and we find a way to get it to somebody else.”
STHS missed a chance to add to its lead following a fumble recovery by Andrew Contaxis, who returned the turnover to the Wooster 23. But a penalty moved the Vikings back. A 16-yard reception by Garrett Tinlin set up fourth and three, but the Colts took over after an incomplete pass.
Then the Colts methodically marched for the tying touchdown. Wyatt Fritz capped an 81-yard drive with a two-yard scoring run. The extra point forged a 21-21 tie with 8:48 left.
Olivares-Laine triggered another STHS go-ahead touchdown with a long kickoff return and a 50-yard pass reception. On the latter play, Olivares-Laine was horse-collared – a penalty – at the Wooster 5. After a short gain by Tyler Nesbitt, Eidam ran behind center and into the end zone for a 27-21 STHS lead. Dupuy’s kick made it 28-21 with 5:54 to go.
But Wooster came right back, answering on a short TD run with 1:08 remaining.
STHS tried to end the game in a regulation. A first-down catch by Tinlin and a first-down scramble by Eidam gave the Vikings a final chance at victory. Wooster, however, picked off the attempt, forcing overtime. The teams played to a 14-14 halftime tie. Eidam finished with two touchdown runs and a seven-yard scoring pass to Tinlin.
South Tahoe (1-3 overall, 1-1 in league) will play host to Bishop Manogue on Saturday.
– KTHO Radio 590 AM contributed to this story.
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