Chances slip through Vikings’ fingers |

Chances slip through Vikings’ fingers

Opportunity knocked for South Tahoe High’s first football win of the season Saturday, but the Vikings didn’t answer the door on their 50th homecoming.

The Vikings fumbled inside North Valleys’ 10-yard line and had a 51-yard touchdown run by Greg Williams called back because of penalty, leading to a 27-0 Sierra Division setback to the Panthers.

Wasting three scoring chances in the first 24 minutes, the Vikings’ three entries in the should’ve-and-could’ve category prevented a possible 17-0 led.

Instead, the Panthers finally broke a swarming Viking defense to drive 80 yards for the first score 15 seconds before halftime. An ensuing penalty against the Vikings enabled the Panthers to return their offense to the field and convert a two-pointer on Vince Knight’s 1-yard plunge.

The Vikings were never the same, despite a rousing halftime celebration where junior defensive lineman Curtis Johnson was selected homecoming king.

However, South Tahoe’s offense assumed a spectator role in the second half, running 18 plays for 28 yards total yards. For the game the Vikings produced 100 total yards, 68 coming on rushes by junior Grant Swinney.

North Valleys (2-4) demoralized the Vikings’ hopes with two long, clock eating drives after halftime.

“They came out and picked the intensity up and we didn’t adjust to that well,” said STHS co-coach Rod Robison.

The Panthers started the third quarter with a nine-play, 71-yard march, culminating in Knight’s 1-yard TD plunge. A missed extra point kept the Panthers within reach at 14-0, but the Vikings’ offense continued to sputter.

“We got pretty tired, and then they scored another touchdown and heads just started dropping,” said the 6-foot-8 Johnson, who had three tackles for losses.

“We just tried to build from that, but we just couldn’t get it back in our grasp.”

The Panthers applied the knockout punch early in the fourth quarter, moving 49 yards in 10 plays, with Jon Benitez taking his second handoff for a 23-yard score. The Vikings blocked the extra point, but the 20-0 deficit was too much to overcome.

“It’s a shame because the final score doesn’t reflect how well the defense played,” said STHS co-coach Chris Morgan.

STHS had two excellent opportunities to score first, but Elliott Mann recovered a Swinney fumble on the North Valley 7. On the Vikings’ next possession, Williams ran a sweep 51 yards down the sideline for an apparent touchdown. But a false start infraction stopped the celebration short.

“We have to stay focused. We can’t keep shooting ourselves in the foot like that,” Morgan said. “We don’t fumble, we don’t get that penalty, the whole game is totally different.

Moments later, Viking junior Colin Griffin recovered a fumble at the North Valley 31 and a Robert Smith pass to Dan Gomez helped the Vikings reach the 12, but the thrust stalled and the Vikings decided against kicking a 31-yard field goal on fourth down and 5. Smith’s fourth-down pass sailed out of the end zone.

Then after struggling for five total yards on their first four possessions, North Valleys swiftly moved 80 yards in four plays, scoring on a 26-yard strike from Kyle Hanson to Mike Tilton. The key play on the drive was when Matt Vidal wrestled the ball away from Griffin while the pair were falling backward at the Viking 26. The Panthers scored on the next play.

The Vikings welcome Douglas for a division clash on Saturday. As the Vikings try to end a 16-game losing streak, their coaches are imploring their that winning is possible.

“We want to get across to these guys it’s not like you gotta win, because we’re not at the pro level,” Robison said. “But you know what, losing’s not OK. We have some guys who are upset about losing, and what we need is more guys who are upset (about losing).”

JVs lose thriller

South Tahoe’s junior varsity moved deep into North Valleys territory late in the game but couldn’t push across the winning score in a 25-20 defeat Saturday.

Mikey Van Gorden passed for two scores and rushed 99 yards for another. Spencer Dean and Bryan Finkel had touchdown receptions. The Vikings are 3-3.



North Valleys 0 8 6 13 — 27

STHS 0 0 0 0 — 0

Second quarter

NV-Tilton 26 pass from Hanson (Knight run)

Third quarter

NV-Knight 1 run (kick failed)

Fourth quarter

NV-Benitez 23 run (kick blocked)

NV-Hanson 1 run (Haycock kick)



First downs 19 6

Rushes-yards 54-166 22-84

Passing yards 96 16

Comp.-Attempts-Int. 4-8-0 5-21-1

Fumbles-lost 2-2 2-1

Penalties 7-52 11-92

Punts-average 5-32.2 6-36.7


Passing: North Valleys, Hanson 4-8-0–96. South Tahoe, Smith 5-20-1–16, Swinney 0-1-0–0.

Rushing: North Valleys, Knight 26-92, Herrera 7-49, Moore 7-28, Benitez 2-27, Haycock 1-7, Hanson 10-1, Team loss 1-(-38). South Tahoe, Swinney 13-68, Williams 6-18, Smith 3-(-2).

Receiving: North Valleys, Tilton 3-63, Vidal 1-33. South Tahoe, Williams 3-8, Gomez 1-12, Capellino 1-(-4).

Missed Field Goals: None.

JV score: North Valleys 25-20.

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