Gridiron greats: Vikings set record for postseason honors
Football fans must have thought they were watching an all-star team when they saw South Tahoe High play this past season. The Vikings’ offense produced more fireworks than a Fourth of July celebration, and the defense evolved into a dominant swarming unit by season’s end.
Area coaches also recognized this excellence, selecting a record nine VIkings to the Northern Nevada 4A All-Region team and 17 to the All-Sierra Division squad.
“Over a period of time our program has developed some respect and I think that’s why you see so many of our kids recognized,” said Vikings 13-year coach Tim Jaureguito.
As good as the VIkings were in 2000 – winning eight games, the most since 1991 – Jaureguito was disappointed that all 22 of his regulars weren’t honored.
“Obviously I’d like to see very kid get recognized. With six teams in our division and 12 teams to consider to make the all-region team it’s tough to be recognized,” he said.
However, the Vikings came very close to pulling off such a rare feat as 20 Vikings were recognized, counting three honorable mentions.
Leading the high volume of all-region players was senior running back Jake Hurwitz, the league’s leading rusher for the second straight season. Hurwitz rushed for 1,313 yards during the regular season and 1,445 overall and was recognized with first-team all-region and all-Sierra Division status and Offensive Player of the Year for his division.
“It’s good the other coaches notice what happens, because coach J isn’t allowed to vote for anyone on our team,” said Hurwitz, who hasn’t pinpointed where he wants to continue his football career next fall. “This year I really had to work at it. With teams keying on stuff that we did it was a bigger accomplishment to get more yards than I did last year.”
Joining Hurwitz with first-team all-region and all-Sierra Division honors were senior quarterback Jarred Uppendahl, senior receiver Immanuel “E Man” Williams, junior linebacker Garrett McIntyre and junior defensive end Justin Nixon.
Uppendahl shattered school records by tossing for 26 touchdowns and 2,403 yards, with Williams on the receiving end of most of the big plays. In only his second season of organized football, Williams caught 49 passes for 1,042 yards and 16 touchdowns.
“We had such good skilled people. It was almost like a dream team,” Jaureguito said. “They worked real hard in the off-season and really made it work.”
Nixon and McIntyre overcame their underclassmen ranking to make the first team. Coaches had no trouble spotting the pair of big playmakers as they were constantly harassing quarterbacks and ball carriers.
“Our defense was based on everyone trusting each other to do their thing,” McIntyre said. “I wanted people to notice me by making big plays and I just worked hard.
“These honors are important to me and make me feel good, but you can’t let it get your head.”
Four Vikings made second-team all-region, while earning first-team all-division, including senior kicker Carlos Romero, sophomore tight end Brandon Tinlin, senior defensive back Sean Keezer and junior offensive tackle Jake Bobman.
Romero provided the Vikings with a long-range field goal threat, but was more of an asset to the defense as he consistently pinned foes deep in their own territory with his kickoffs into the end zone. The 6-4 Tinlin became a reliable blocker and kept defenses honest by coming off the line for passes to utilize his good hands and power running abilities. Bobman anchored a small-but-quick veteran line and Keezer evolved into a big playmaker on defense.
Three other members of the Vikings’ offensive line were selected second-team all-division including, senior center Matt Ring, senior guard Matt McGuffin and senior tackle Nick Barclay. Senior receiver Ryan Hickey (27 receptions, six TDs) and his velcro hands pulled in second-team all-division honors.
Senior defensive tackle Eddie Colegrove, senior linebackers Aaron Newcomb and Ryan Griffith and senior defensive back Chas Tanner left high school ball with second-team all-division status.
Earning honorable mention all-division were senior wide receiver Jerry Seeley, senior offensive guard John Capitani and senior defensive tackle McGuffin.
McQueen senior running back Chris Carr, who scored 28 touchdowns during the regular season, was selected the league’s MVP. Wooster senior quarterback John James took Offensive Player of the Year, McQueen senior Ryan Bader Defensive Player of the Year and Elko sophomore Pete Cavender and McQueen senior Matt Leary shared Lineman of the Year.
McQueen veteran coach Ken Dalton and Wooster second-year coach Tony Amantia were named the league’s Co-Coaches of the Year.
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