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Must-win games begin for Vikes

Steve Yingling

You know the season isn’t going according to plan when the head coach starts designating games as must-wins in the middle of the season.

After a 2-0 start, the South Tahoe High Vikings football team has lost their first two division games. If the Vikings have any hopes of delaying their postseason awards banquet they must win at least three of their final four division contests.

“At this point, every game is important … even when we play a nonleague game against Sparks. We have to get back on track and that means winning. Until we get there, each game becomes that much more important to get us there,” said STHS coach Tim Jaureguito, who is attempting to take the Vikings to the playoffs for the third straight season.

The top four teams in each division advance to the postseason.

Division win No. 1 won’t come easy on Friday night. The Vikings travel to Northern Nevada League Division II leader Carson for a 7:30 p.m. game.

“If they continue to improve like they have the last three weeks, they have the potential to become the best team they’ve had,” Jaureguito said.

Vast improvement for South Tahoe came on the defensive side of the ball in a 32-6 loss to Wooster last Saturday. The defense, which had more holes in it than swiss cheese, only allowed two pass completions and limited a powerful Colts rushing attack to 294 yards. A blocked punt, two fumbles inside the 30-yard line and a safety made it seem like the defense didn’t do its job.

“A lot of it was mental. We’ve always had it physically. I think we just wanted to step it up and play responsibility football. We’ve been trying to work on our intensity and consistency,” said Viking linebacker Richie McGuffin.

Yet, not everyone on the defense is satisfied.

“Our defense is improving and took a big step forward, but personally I think we need to step up even more. Thirty-two points is still too much for me to handle. I think we can shut teams down if we play to the best of our ability,” said senior linebacker/tight end Corey Martin.

Although the Carson offense is geared toward David Krueger’s big-play potential, the Senators are comfortable interchanging their weapons.

“They use six or seven backs and five or six wide receivers and they all do a good job,” Jaureguito said.

Krueger is the league’s fourth-leading rusher with 404 yards, while the Vikings’ Bryan Marino is third with 475.

Meanwhile, STHS’s offense is mired in a six-quarter offensive slump. After lighting up Reno for 26 first-half points in week three, the Vikings went scoreless in the second half against the Huskies and only mustered 96 total yards against Wooster.

Jaureguito knows exactly where the blame lies.

“The main thing is we have to be able to run block,” he said. “There was certain situations where we didn’t pick up the blitzes, and all it takes is one mistake to make the whole offensive line look bad.

“The most important thing is they’ve had a chance to see this on film. They were as embarrassed about what happened on Saturday as I was. They’ve worked pretty hard this week.”

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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