Injuries mounting for title-hungry Vikings
Usually football players know they’ve been in a tough game when they see paint from the opposing team’s helmets transferred to their own headgear.
South Tahoe High should have been so lucky against Reno. The Vikings suffered two more key injuries in their hard-fought 19-17 Nevada 4A Division II victory on Friday night in Reno.
The Vikings experienced their third knee ligament injury in four weeks, as senior defensive end Ian Price slightly tore his medial collateral ligament in the second quarter. The injury is similar to senior quarterback Tim Sprinkles’, and Price is expected to rejoin the Vikings before the end of the regular season, perhaps even sooner.
“He’ll be out two to four weeks, but it’s probably on the two side more than the four side. It depends on how quickly it heals,” said Viking coach Tim Jaureguito.
The loss of the 6-foot-3, 186-pound Price comes at a time when the Vikings are preparing for the biggest game of the season – longtime nemesis Wooster.
“Ian’s been really outstanding and has really stepped up. He’s not only been a leader on the field, but on the sideline the other night he was big in terms of encouragement, enthusiasm and for helping the guy filling in for him,” Jaureguito said.
Sophomore Justin Nixon, a 6-2, 188-pounder, subbed for Price and performed well, according to Jaureguito.
“He’s still making young mistakes, and he’s going to have to really step up this week. He can’t make those kind of mistakes against a Wooster,” said Jaureguito, who will also consider senior Chip Froberg as a replacement for Price.
Price’s ligament damage followed Sprinkles’ slight MCL tear against Lowry in week two, and senior running back James “Stump” Fabrizio ACL tear in practice, two days before the Vikings defeated Douglas 17-15.
“I guess it’s just our turn. We haven’t had any injures whatsoever in the last five or six years, then all of sudden we’ve had several you don’t expect,” said Jaureguito of the spate of injuries.
Senior linebacker Mario Guerrero suffered a minor head injury against Reno, but is expected to play against the Colts on Saturday.
“He was a little dazed, so we didn’t play him in the fourth quarter. He didn’t exhibit any signs of a concussion,” Jaureguito said.
Also, the Vikings will also welcome back kicker/punter Carlos Romero. Romero missed the Reno game after turning his ankle while running in practice.
Because of the physical battering the team took against Reno, Jaureguito plans to reduce the contact drills this week in practice.
“I’m sure the players have been feeling it the last couple of days, so we’re going to ease off this week,” said the 13th-year coach, who planned to only review film with the team Monday. “We don’t need to beat each other up this week. South Tahoe is not on our schedule, but Wooster is.”
Sprinkles, who reinjected explosiveness into the Viking offense Friday with two touchdown passes to Immanuel Williams and a one-yard touchdown run, pulled himself out of the game in the fourth quarter. He reportedly felt a strain in the same knee that he rehabilitated the past three weeks. It was the senior’s first appearance since hurting the knee Sept. 3.
“It’s a true championship team if you can pull through the face of adversity with so many injuries like this. When we come back at full strenthg that’s gong to amke us that much stronger for the playoffs,” Sprinkles said.
Jaureguito believes Sprinkles will play against Wooster. Sprinkles said he’ll participate in practice today and after more intense practices on Wednesday or Thursday, he’ll decide if he’s ready to go.
“I’m looking at it as day to day,” Sprinkles said. “It’s going to take a lot to keep me out of this game.”
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