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Injured Vikings prepare for Hug

Steve Yingling

South Tahoe High’s football team should dress in new uniforms Friday night because the Hug Hawks may not recognize who they’re playing anyway.

Several key injuries and a slumping offense have necessitated a few changes in the Viking camp going into the Northern Nevada League 4A Division II game at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Reno.

Viking regulars not expected to see action are tailback Bryan Bough, offensive lineman Ryan Souza and linebacker Ian Xavier. Bough is nursing a slightly torn AC joint in his right shoulder, Souza is recovering from a concussion and Xavier is serving a one-game suspension for being ejected late in the South Tahoe-Carson game last Saturday.

Junior Bryan Marino, who rushed for 53 yards on 13 carries in Bough’s place against Carson, should shoulder a brunt of the Vikings’ rushing load. Marino, however, may have company in the backfield as Viking coach Tim Jaureguito is considering mixing Wing-T formations with the usual one-back spread offense.

The Vikings (3-2 overall and 1-2 in Division II) ran out of a Wing-T formation on fourth down late in their 17-7 defeat to Carson.

“I’m thinking about doing it a little more. When our offense is struggling we’ve got to have something to fall back on. The Wing-T is something we know real well,” Jaureguito said. “With the backs that we have and the lineman we have, I wouldn’t be surprised to see us in the Wing-T more than we have in the past.”

South Tahoe posted three straight victories to open the season, scoring 142 points. In the past two games – both losses – the Vikings have averaged seven points.

“They’re not big changes, but we’re hoping the changes help our overall offensive play,” Jaureguito said. “Maybe will change things up every now and then to get the defense out of their rhythm.”

Winless Hug, a preseason playoff threat, has had trouble putting points on the board. Jaureguito attributes the Hawks’ offensive ineptness to injuries.

“In their opening game they lost tight end (Kevin Carpenter), a Division I prospect to an ACL tear. In addition, they lost some offensive linemen during the two-a-day period,” Jaureguito said.

Hug, 0-3 in Division II and 0-5 overall, is only averaging eight points per game, but Jaureguito is wary.

“They’ve always been tough on us down there, no matter how good we are or how bad they are. It’s the kind of thing where they have so much talent and speed that it’s just a matter of time before they explode. Hopefully, it’s not Friday night,” Jaureguito said.

The game is critical to both teams’ postseason goals. Four of the division’s seven teams will make the playoffs.

“We’re struggling. We need to do everything we can to go out and try to go 4-0 in the next four games in order to just make it to the playoffs,” Jaureguito said.

Viking senior receiver Casey Dowling, who has five touchdown receptions, feels the team’s two-game slide will only make players work harder.

“There’s no quit in this team. We could go 3-6 and still work as hard as we could. We have a lot of confidence that we’ll bounce back,” Dowling said.


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