Grizzlies leave Viking Bowl with nothing
Something was definitely amiss at South Tahoe High’s season-opening football game Saturday.
No, it wasn’t the Vikings’ musical taste. ACDC’s Hell’s Bells blared on the press box stereo as the team made its pregame walk into Viking Bowl.
It wasn’t the fact the Vikings were playing a real game in August because the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association came up with Hall of Fame games all over Nevada as a means to raise additional money.
The Viking coaches weren’t the culprits, either. Eric Beavers wore his customary floppy hat and Todd McIntyre was perched atop the press box calling offensive plays as usual.
What really was out of the ordinary was the Vikings’ defense. Content to outscore the opposition with their spread offense in the new millennium, South Tahoe’s defense has almost been an afterthought.
But on Saturday the Vikings put on a defense show, forcing six turnovers and holding Galena to 102 total yards in producing the school’s first shutout victory in five years, 36-0.
Senior defensive back Eric Domingo intercepted two passes and senior defensive lineman Oscar Moreno picked up a fumble and burst 20 yards into the end zone.
The defense also sacked quarterback Jordan Arnold twice and limited the Grizzlies’ rushing attack to 35 yards on 25 carries (1.4 per carry).
“I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage and we had a fairly decent pressure package and these guys ran it well,” Beavers said. “A shutout isn’t just a defensive effort. Really, in order to shut someone out, the offense has to play well, you have to win the line of scrimmage on offense and you have to get field position.”
The Vikings’ offense repeatedly made its presence felt, especially the ground game. Senior Kyle Jones made a successful varsity debut at running back, piling up 121 yards and a 10-yard TD run on 13 attempts.
“I’ve been waiting. Last year Grant (Swinney) took most of the carries,” Jones said. “The offensive line, I’ve got to give credit to all of them. I was just trying to keep up with them.”
Senior quarterback Mikey Van Gorden and reserve tailback Martin Taylor combined for 146 additional yards behind the stellar offensive line play of Moreno, Nick Garratt, Nate Sweeney, J.P. Foster, Alex Matzinger and Eric Pacheco.
“Since I’ve been here this is a pretty good first game,” Beavers said. “Mentally, we’re way ahead because we’ve had these guys now for three years.”
Van Gorden kept the Grizzlies off balance by rushing for 15- and 5-yard touchdowns and tossing a 32-yard scoring strike to Randy Henson.
Galena missed a golden opportunity to score first when the Vikings muffed a punt, giving the Grizzlies’ possession on their 48. But Moreno brought down the Grizzlies’ Josh Koski for a 7-yard loss to force a punt.
“There was no panic and our guys were fairly disciplined,” Beavers said.
Starting on their 14, the Vikings packaged a 10-play drive capped by Matt Bobman’s lengthy 48-yard field goal, which had about 5 yards to spare. Bobman showed off his powerful leg often, sending several kicks 10 yards out of the end zone.
With the Vikings dominating both sides of the line, it didn’t take long for the contest to get out of hand. On Galena’s next possession, Moreno picked up a Galena fumble and bolted 20 yards for the score, punctuating the defensive score by diving into the end zone.
“That was something personal. I’ve always had a dream of diving in,” Moreno said.
Although their two-point pass failed, the Vikings led 9-0 with 3:43 left in the first quarter.
The first of two interceptions by Domingo preceded the Vikings’ next score. Beginning on Galena’s 37, the Vikings ran the ball down the Grizzlies’ throat. A 17-yard scamper by Jones and 10-yard dash by Van Gorden pushed the Vikings to the 10. Jones finished the score on the next play and Bobman’s kick made it to 16-0 with 1:32 to go.
South Tahope scored twice in the second period, but first averted Galena’s best scoring chance. Domingo and Haven Wilvers prevented a touchdown by catching Ryan Krueger from behind on his 36-yard burst to the Viking 14. However, two plays later, Domingo stepped in front of a slant pattern and picked off his second pass.
“Coach Beavers knew all of their routes and we just waited back,” Domingo said.
A 28-yard run by Jones and 29- and 17-yard receptions by Henson expedited the Vikings’ ensuing drive. Van Gorden capped the six-play drive with a 5-yard run. Bobman’s kick made it 23-0 with 7:47 left in the half.
Late in the second period, Bryan Finkel caught Tony Fritsche from behind on a 35-yard reception to the Viking 35. Linebacker Garratt then shot the gap to throw Krueger for a 5-yard loss, stalling the drive.
Van Gorden flustered the Grizzlies further on the next drive by dissecting them for 19- and 15-yard runs – the last of which put STHS ahead 29-0 with 1:55 remaining before halftime.
STHS held the Grizzlies without a first down in the second half. Moreno and Buck Pershing recovered fumbles and Wilvers picked off a pass, preserving the Vikings’ first shutout since blitzing Fallon 53-0 in 1999.
STHS can now turn its attention toward two-time defending 3A champion Bishop Manogue. The Vikings will try to spoil the Miners’ debut in their new 5,000-seat stadium at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
JV scrimmage with Galena
Rich Barna, STHS JV coach, reported that his Vikings improved as their scrimmage continued with Galena on Friday in Reno.
“It was just figuring-it-out-going-to-the-next level kind of stuff,” Barna said. “Galena jumped on us early in the scrimmage, but we seemed to figure things out and started becoming more physical and actually played a lot better.”
Galena 0 0 0 0 – 0
S. Tahoe 16 13 7 0 – 36
ST – Bobman 48 field goal, 7:47
ST – Moreno 20 fumble return (pass failed), 8:17
ST – Jones 10 run (Bobman kick), 10:28
ST – Van Gorden 5 run (Bobman kick), 4:13
ST – Van Gorden 15 run (run failed), 10:05
ST – Henson 32 pass from Van Gorden (Bobman kick), 2:16
First downs 4/22
Passing yards 67/108
Kick returns 3-85/0-0
Punt retuns 1-0/3-(-6)
Passing: Galena, Arnold 4-16-3-67, Merbach 0-0-0-0; South Tahoe, Van Gorden 6-14-1-108, Jones 0-0-0-0.
Rushing: Galena, Krueger 14-51, Fry 3-8, Arnold 4-1, Meadows 1-(-2), No. 48 1-(-4), Koski 2-(-19); South Tahoe, Jones 13-121, Van Gorden 10-77, Taylor 14-69, Dalmacio 3-14.
Receiving: Galena, Fritsche 2-44, Dowty 1-15, Fry 1-8; South Tahoe, Henson 3-78, Dean 2-11, Pacheco 1-19.
Field goals: South Tahoe, Bobman, 48 (good), 38 (short).
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