Defending state champs to visit Vikings on Saturday |

Defending state champs to visit Vikings on Saturday

Steve Yingling

New South Tahoe High football coach Eric Beavers isn’t receiving any mercy as he prepares his Vikings for their home opener Saturday.

As luck has it, defending state champion McQueen is Beavers’ first home order of business as a Viking head coach. McQueen has won 26 of its past 28 games, including 15 in a row, and the Reno program has become widely viewed as the best in the state year in and year out.

“Everyone in Northern Nevada measures their program against McQueen, and we do the same,” Beavers said. “It’s going to be a hard game. They are always well-conditioned, strong, they always play hard and they’re always well-coached.”

Dalton doesn’t try to hide the reasons why his Lancers have been so successful.

“There’s a tremendous commitment in our program and the kids simply make it a priority. We’re used to winning, our kids expect to win and they prepare to win,” said McQueen coach Ken Dalton. “They would never think about missing a practice during the summer, and they work exceptionally hard in the weight room.”

Dalton welcomes a new coach with Beavers’ talent into the league.

“First of all, he’s a class guy, and I know he’ll run an outstanding program,” Dalton said. “When he played he was such a competitor, and I’m sure his team will share his same traits.

“We don’t want it easier. The best coaches you can get in here just makes for better relationships and competition. That’s what it’s all about.”

Last fall, the Lancers did nothing but win en route to their fourth state championship in a decade. Along the way, the Lancers handed the Vikings their worst defeat of the season, a 69-21 throttling in the Nevada 4A regional semifinals.

South Tahoe came away from that one-sided playoff defeat with a minor consolation prize: scoring more points than any other team did against the Lancers.

That’s not the goal Saturday.

“We don’t talk about how many points we want to score against McQueen,” Beavers said. “They teach them how to play the game perfectly. If we put some plays together, we’re going to like what we see on the scoreboard.”

South Tahoe struggled with offensive continuity in its 30-21 season-opening defeat at Reed. Quarterback Brandon Tinlin was 7-of-38 passing, but did throw touchdown passes of 27 yards to Keenyn Wallace and 14 yards to Robert Smith. Phil Griffith led the ground attack with 58 yards on 16 carries.

“We made a few changes,” Beavers said. “We’re going to do a few new things to help out our quarterback and our young players on that side.”

Both teams are fielding almost completely different squads than a year ago, even though McQueen keeps blueprinting victory after victory. Each year, Dalton prefers to play his seniors, players he is confident will provide leadership and success on the field.

“We’re always a senior-laden team,” said. “They’ve been through the bumps and they know what to expect.”

Even though the Vikings’ are full of new faces, Dalton has a pretty good idea what South Tahoe plans to do offensively.

“South Tahoe is always a skilled team,” Dalton said. “They spread you out, and they like to throw the ball. They always do a very good job that way. There always quite physical, they are always well-coached, so that makes for a very good contest.”

Despite dominating Douglas 35-8 last Friday, Dalton came away displeased on one front.

“There were a lot of positives, but certainly as in any first game there were some negatives,” Dalton said. “We had too many penalties, and no coach appreciates that.

“We were very, very physical, controlled the line of scrimmage and ran to the ball, so there’s some very physical things we can build on.”

Running back Kevin Suter (6-0, 207 pounds) and J.J. Myatt (6-4, 216) combined for all of McQueen’s scores vs. Douglas. Suter scored on 22- and 1-yard runs, while Myatt found the end zone twice on offense and once on defense. As a defensive end, Myatt recovered a fumble in the end zone and as a receiver he scored on 21- and 1-yard receptions.

“Defensively, we think we can match up pretty well,” Beavers said. “We’ve been telling our defense that they are going to have to step up and carry us early in the season.”

Other Lancers to watch are tight end/linebacker Mohu Otuafi (6-1, 205); senior quarterback Jeff Rowe; running back K.C. Dalton, no relation (5-10, 175), and Joe Chrisman (5-10, 190). Breakaway runner Chris Carr has graduated, so Dalton prefers to give a committee the task of executing their running game.

McQueen hasn’t lost since a 21-7 defeat to Cimarron-Memorial in the 1999 championship game.

“It’s a good opportunity for people to come out and see how we measure up and a program that’s been doing things right for a long time,” Beavers said.

The doubleheader begins with the JV contest at 10:45 a.m. The varsity game follows at 1:30 p.m.

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