South Tahoe football confident heading into homecoming clash with Dayton
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe senior Paolo Torres says he and his teammates are “confident” heading into the Vikings homecoming game Friday against the Dayton Dust Devils.
Part of that confidence stems from South Tahoe’s loss last week to North Valleys. The Vikings moved the ball and scored more than twice as many points as their previous output this season, but they couldn’t hold a fourth quarter lead and lost 42-34 in Reno.
“It was a great feeling getting our offense moving,” said Torres, the Vikings offensive/defensive lineman. “It was all good, but then we didn’t play the full 48 minutes. It kind of spoiled it.”
While the Vikings had their best offensive day of the season, a loss is still a loss, “they all still sting,” said Vikings head coach Louis Franklin.
No losses feel good, but when quarterback Jake Tarwater starts the game 14 for 14 and finishes 27 for 35 for 281 yards and his main target, receiver Kody Griffis, hauls in 17 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns, all defeats are not equal. Running back James Knudson had his most productive night of the season with 94 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Jeremy Smiley also hauled in a 16-yard TD pass.
The Vikings scored nine touchdowns in their first seven games and hit paydirt five times against North Valleys.
“The young guys on the O-line are getting more comfortable with what they’re doing so we’re able to add some new stuff in each week,” Franklin said. “But yeah, an ‘L’ is still an ‘L’. There are a lot of positives from all of them, but we feel like the next two weeks we can play some pretty good football.”
Torres is excited for homecoming night, and he expects everyone to be there and for it to be loud, but he also knows the end to his high school football career is near with just two games and a few practices left. And he doesn’t want to go out without a win.
“I’m sad, I’m heading into my last five practices probably for my life,” Torres said. “I haven’t decided on college yet. Playing with these guys … this is my last year.”
One team will exit Viking Stadium on Friday night with its first victory of the season. The Dust Devils and Vikings have identical records, 0-8 overall, 0-7 in the 3A Northern League. The teams have lost to several of the same teams, but overall final scores show the Vikings have fared better against the same competition.
With two games left on the schedule, Friday night will be South Tahoe’s best chance to enter the win column. Truckee (7-1) comes to the South Shore the following week to end the regular season and that will bring a tougher challenge.
The Vikings practiced Wednesday like usual, they worked hard and tried to get better. It also looked like they had extra pep in their steps. Scoring some points and being so close to victory has the Vikings sniffing success this week.
“We can’t tell that the kids haven’t won a football game this year,” Franklin said. “The kids come out focused and work hard every week.”
Said Torres, “Last week proved some things to me and I think we can actually win a game this year.”