Hoping homecoming makes vikes stronger
The emotional charge of homecoming might be what the slumping South Tahoe High Vikings football needs.
After an electrifying 2-0 start, the Vikings have lost three straight Northern Nevada League games. Obviously, confidence and intensity are waning.
“We always seem to play well on homecoming, even with all of the distractions. But with all of the distractions during homecoming week, that could play into Hug’s hands and not ours,” said Viking coach Tim Jaureguito. “It all depends on how much they want to salvage the remainder of the season. The coaches can’t go out and execute the game plan. They have to be willing to come back and play hard and turn this around.”
Hug’s veteran coach Rollins Stallworth doesn’t mind being the homecoming prey being lured to the lake for Saturday’s key 1:30 p.m. Division II game.
“Like most coaches I’d rather not have one,” Stallworth said. “There are some distractions that take away from the things the kids should be focusing on during the week. I’d rather be in somebody’s homecoming than be in our own.”
At the crux of STHS’s trouble in recent weeks is an ineffective offense. The Vikings have scored only 12 points the past 10 quarters. Two of their three losses were to league powerhouses Carson and Wooster.
“We need to do the fundamental things well. If we do those things, our gimmick plays will work,” Jaureguito said.
One Viking who hasn’t missed a beat on offense this season is senior tight end Corey Martin. Martin has scored in four of five games and ranks third in the league with 44 points, including seven touchdowns.
“I don’t think anyone’s stopped Martin all year. He’s one of the better players in the league and we respect the heck out of him,” Stallworth said.
Martin and offensive lineman Ryan Souza are being heavily recruited by NCAA Division I schools. Among the coveters are Oregon, San Diego State, Sacramento State and Nevada.
While both schools probably need to win their remaining division games to make the playoffs, there still is hope with four teams from each division advancing to the postseason.
“We’re definitely fortunate that we have the opportunity to control our own destiny. In the three games that we lost, two of them occurred because of our inability to put points on the board when we’ve had opportunities,” Stallworth said.
In the middle of an 0-3 division start, Jaureguito remains hopeful.
“They know that it’s possible, but only they can make that happen. Talking about it is one thing, but going out and doing it is a completely different thing,” he said.
Hug has dictated games with the league’s No. 1 defense. In a 35-16 defeat to zone-final threat Elko, the Hawks outgained the Indians in total yards 300 to 150. The Hawks have only allowed 49 points in five games.
“Defensively we’re playing well, and we’re doing a pretty good job moving the ball, but we haven’t been doing a good job scoring,” Stallworth said.
Offensively, Hug feeds off running back Abner Lopez, who has the league’s second-best rushing total with 636 yards. He averages 7.1 yards per carry and has scored five touchdowns.
The homecoming tripleheader begins with the freshman game at 8:30 a.m.
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