Hug drives away Vikings’ perfect mark
A slap in the face of deja vu washed away South Tahoe High’s unbeaten football season Saturday and escalated the importance of the Vikings’ remaining games.
Hug scored 12 unanswered points in the final 16 minutes to erase a 17-6 Viking lead to squeak out an 18-17 victory in a battle of Division II leaders in South Lake Tahoe. The Hawks, 2-2 overall, but 2-0 in division play, rallied for 10 points in the final four minutes a year ago to pull out a 24-21 win.
“This is so big,” said Hug senior running back Abner Lopez, who rushed for 110 yards and caught four passes for 40 yards. “We came in practicing hard, so we knew we were ready to beat them. We picked it up in the second half. Everybody was telling everybody to ‘Believe in it, believe in it.'”
With division games with Reno and Wooster in the coming weeks, the unexpected loss left the Vikings disconsolate.
“It’s extremely disappointing, but I’ll be honest with you, we didn’t deserve to win the game,” said Viking coach Tim Jaureguito. “We made too many mistakes at critical times.”
Carlos Romero’s 45-yard field goal put South Tahoe ahead 17-6 with 4 minutes, 33 seconds left in the third quarter, but the rally was on when Hawks senior Dayton Hendricks returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Hug failed on a two-point conversion run, but trailed only 17-12.
Then after stuffing the Vikings, 3-1, in Hawk territory with the help of a clipping penalty, Hug assembled an artistic and resourceful 19-play game-winning drive, which consumed 10 minutes of the clock.
During one of the most memorable drives in school history, the Hawks converted two fourth-down and two third-down plays. The clincher came on a controversial 11-yard scoring pass from Bryan Tilton to Hendricks, who somehow gathered in the ball while being blanketed by Mario Guerrero.
“I didn’t know that I got in,” Hendricks said. “That wasn’t even the right pattern that I ran. I saw Tilton scrambling, so I broke off early and kind of sat there waiting, and he made a great throw. I think (Guerrero) just missed it, and it kind of fell right it my hands.”
Jaureguito wondered afterward if Hendricks had possession of the ball as he dove, with the pigskin, out of bounds in the front corner of the end zone.
“It’s questionable as to whether or not he was in bounds. I couldn’t see it from where I was, but I’ve had several people right there say he didn’t have control of the ball in bounds,” Jaureguito said. “We’re going to take a look at it on film, and obviously if we think there’s something that the officials didn’t see, we’re going to send it to them as well.”
South Tahoe, however, wasn’t dead with 2:11 remaining on the clock. Jaureguito added a few new offensive wrinkles for the final drive by inserting defensive back Chris Seals at tailback.
After Jake Hurwitz gained four yards to the Viking 32, Seals took back-to-back pitches and swept 14 and 10 yards, respectively, to the Hug 44.
But Hug linebacker Chris Weller delivered a big play, sacking Jarred Uppendahl for a five-yard loss. Viking offensive coordinator Todd McIntyre then reached into his bag of tricks and called for a halfback option pass. The play set up nicely as Seals, who played quarterback last fall at Rite of Passage, rolled to his right and lofted a spiraling pass to Jerry Seeley deep in Hug territory. But the ball fell innocently to the grass, and with it went the Vikings’ hopes of victory.
“Everybody thought it was pass interference, but they didn’t call it, so there’s nothing we can do,” Seals said. “We can’t blame the refs. We can’t blame nobody but ourselves. We should have played lot better than we did.”
The play might have worked better earlier in the game, but Seals didn’t see any action in the backfield until the final two minutes. By then, Hug was guarding against the big play.
“It was pretty well defended, considering. They were in a prevent defense at that point. They’ve got everybody dropped back anyway, so it was pretty tough to sell a play like that, but we did. Had he caught the ball, then all you do is line up for a field goal,” Jaureguito said.
On South Tahoe’s final two plays, Uppendahl hurried a pass out of bounds and Hurwitz surprisingly got the nod on a trap play on fourth and 15. He netted 11 yards, giving the junior 190 for the game, but Hug regained possession and ran out the clock.
The Vikings were nearly in Romero’s range on the final drive. He had five yards to spare on his successful 45-yard field goal in the third quarter.
“Fifty-five is a little bit out of his range. Fifty would be close. If we could have gotten him down a little further, but it didn’t happen, and it wasn’t meant to be,” Jaureguito said.
Hug coach Rollins Stallworth, a father of two, acted like a proud new papa after the game as he watched his football program take a step toward uncharted territory.
“We showed a lot of heart, and our abilities not to give up. In the past we’ve kind of developed the attitude that, if a team makes a mistake, then maybe we can capitalize on it,” Stallworth said.
But this Hug team didn’t need any help. The Hawks made their own breaks.
“Just because we’ve lost one game doesn’t mean we’re going to quit,” Seals said. “We’re going to come back hard next week. We’re a team that’s going to finish our season as a team and we’re going to work hard to the end. That’s mandatory.”
The big-play Vikings’ other scores came on a 2-yard quarterback sneak by Uppendahl, who followed the lead block of Nick Barclay, and a 2-yard bullish run by 6-3, 225-pound sophomore goal-line runner Garrett McIntyre.
SATURDAY’S PREP FOOTBALL SUMS
HUG 18, STHS 17
Hug 0 6 6 6-18
South Tahoe 7 7 3 0-17
ST-McIntyre 2 run (Romero kick), 3:05
H-Tilton 1 run (kick failed), 1:05
ST-Uppendahl 2 run (Romero kick), 4:16
ST-Romero 45 field goal, 7:27
H-Hendricks 98 kickoff return, 7:40
H-Hendricks 11 pass from Tilton, 9:49
Passing yards 105/37
Punt returns 2-18/1-9
Kick returns 3-140/4-56
RUSHING: Hug, Lopez 26-110, Waller 8-46, Boise 2-(-4), Tilton 6-(-5). South Tahoe, Hurwitz 28-190, Seals 2-24, McIntyre 2-4, Uppendahl 6-(-10).
PASSING: Hug, Tilton 12-16-0-105. South Tahoe, Uppendahl 2-8-1-37, Seals 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Hug, Pruitt 5-28, Lopez 4-40, Hendricks 3-37. South Tahoe, Williams 1-19, Hurwitz 1-18.
MiSSED FIELD GOALS: None.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Vail Resorts on Monday announced winter operations that includes no reservations to ski, normal capacity loading on lifts and gondolas and no face coverings while outside.