Indians outgun Vikings |

Indians outgun Vikings

Statistics usually don’t lie.

But that was before the Friday night shootout between Nevada 4A League unbeatens Elko and South Tahoe in Elko.

South Tahoe quarterback Jarred Uppendahl threw for a career-high 378 yards, three receivers eclipsed the 100-yard mark and running back Jake Hurwitz rushed for 114 yards.

Yet, the Vikings lost their final predivision contest 42-31 as Indians running back Kyle Ecklund rushed for 201 yards and scored four touchdowns.

The Vikings outgained Elko 456 to 440 yards and sustained drives better by moving the first-down chains 18 times to the Indians’ seven. However, the Vikings couldn’t prevent the big play as Ecklund scored on 80- and 46-yard dashes and Shawn Riley scooped up a fumble and sprinted 75 yards to the end zone.

“We told the team all week that the team that wins this game will be the one that makes the fewest mistakes. Both teams made mistakes, but they made the fewest,” said Vikings coach Tim Jaureguito. “We learned a lot from this game that we can take into division play.”

Elko built a 42-17 third-quarter lead, but there was no quit in the Vikings. Behind a 74-yard touchdown reception by Ryan Hickey and a 15-yard sweep into the end zone by Hurwitz, the Vikings trimmed the deficit to 11 points with 17 seconds left in the third quarter.

Defensive back Wayne Lucero’s fumble recovery as the third period concluded only added more fuel to the Vikings’ fire. However, the comeback fever subsided when Uppendahl threw the first of two interceptions to open the fourth quarter. Elko’s Jake Sampley retreated in time to swipe a pass that was intended for Jerry Seeley, who was momentarily open in the end zone.

“That was the deciding play,” said Vikings offensive coordinator Todd McIntyre. “Jerry was wide open in the end zone and Jarred tried to be so perfect on the pass that he lobbed it up to him.”

Elko jumped on the Vikings from the opening kickoff as Ecklund bolted 46 yards to the end zone on the second play from scrimmage to put the Indians ahead 7-0. Following a spectacular 66-yard completion to Immanuel Williams, the ball was knocked loose from Uppendahl on a botched draw play and Riley scooted 75 yards for a 14-0 lead.

Despite a 73-yard first quarter by Hurwitz, the Vikings fell further behind when Ecklund swept 13 yards for the Indians’ third score. Riley’s 70-yard gain off an inside reverse set up Ecklund’s second score.

South Tahoe finally got going when Hurwitz’s 29-yard gain was followed by an inside screen pass that Williams took 44 yards for the score. The touchdown inspired the Vikings’ defense to stop Elko on four straight possessions, and a 20-yard field goal by Carlos Romero narrowed Elko’s lead to 21-10 at the outset of the second period.

However, a 61-yard reception by tight end Chris Chapman, one of only three passes the Indians completed, pushed Eko to the Viking 3. From there, Alex Puentes bulled into the end zone for a 28-10 lead with :49 left before halftime.

Hickey, who also caught a 34-yard touchdown in the third period, led the Vikings with 134 receiving yards on five catches. Williams also caught five passes for 130 yards and Seeley led the team with six catches for 113 yards.

McIntyre thinks that Uppendahl’s 378-yard passing total is a school record.

Hurwitz topped the 100-yard mark for the fourth straight game with 114 yards on 17 carries.

South Tahoe, 3-1, opens division play against Douglas on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in South Lake Tahoe.

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