Never a dull moment for the Vikings
They’ve scored 111 points and won two games by an average margin of 42 points, but that was on the road.
What are the South Tahoe High Vikings capable of Saturday when they finally play on their home turf against undefeated Reno? One thing is certain, the Viking braintrust will have something special for the Huskies just like they did for Reed and Lowry.
“Sooner or later we’re going to run out of things we haven’t run before,” said Viking coach Tim Jaureguito. “But with the experience we have and the knowledge our players have, we’ll be able to add things to our game plans for specific teams.”
The Northern Nevada League Division II football opener for both teams begins at 1:30 p.m.
In their 51-7 shredding of Reed in the opener, the Vikings exposed a green Raider secondary and linebacker corps by repeatedly throwing over the middle and outside and zapped their spirit with a capitalistic blitz package. In game two, the Vikings showed a five-receiver, no-back alignment early to spread out the Lowry defense. The result, a career day for senior tailback Bryan Bough, who scored six of the 17 times he touched the ball in a 60-21 blitzing.
First-year Reno coach Brian Rothe’s team has also put the fear into opponents, so much so that last week’s foe, San Jose Academy, walked off the field midway through the third quarter, trailing 46-6.
“That’s the strangest deal I’ve ever seen. It was two teams that shouldn’t have played. It ended up not helping us too much,” Rothe said.
The Huskies went 7 on 7 with the Vikings during summer camp and have seen two daunting Viking game films. Reno has the highest respect for Tahoe.
“That offense is lethal. You don’t stop Tahoe. Hopefully you can slow it down a bit,” Rothe said.
What’s scary for Reno (2-0) is Jaureguito’s remark that Bough’s Lowry performance could become an ordinary game for him.
“He has the potential to do that all the time,” the 10th-year coach said. “He’s a really smart runner. With his speed and quickness he can get someone to overcommit and then cut back right in their faces.”
If the Huskies stay close, they will have to deal with Bough for 48 minutes – something Reed and Lowry were fortunate to avoid. Incredibly, Bough has rushed for 412 yards on 32 carries and 10 touchdowns – four less than last year’s total – in barely more than four quarters.
The Viking coaching staff also gave Reno something more to defend by including Bough in the passing attack. Two of his three catches against Lowry went the distance.
“Now that we’ve incorporated him into the passing package that adds another element. Bryan is more dangerous when he catches a pass in the open field,” Jaureguito said.
But as effective as Bough has been, Rothe fears what Viking senior quarterback Bret Uppendahl can do to his 4-3 defense.
“I’ve never seen a team that audibles like this kid can, and if you show any kind of blitz, he goes right where you’re blitzing from. He’s a real sharp kid,” Rothe said.
Given ample time to throw by the experienced offensive line of Brad Cimino, Ryan Souza, Henry Hoppe, Jonathan Shaver and Seth Martin, Uppendahl has 573 yards passing and seven touchdowns with only one interception.
Of course, games rarely go by without something going wrong. The Viking defense, following a superb performance against Reed, struggled in the first quarter at Lowry. Lowry scored on two of its first three possessions – a breakdown that might be attributed to the offense’s enormous success.
“(Relaxing) may possibly be one way to explain it,” Jaureguito said. “But the time is going to come where the (opposing) defense is going to stop us, whether that be a for a quarter, a half or whatever. I’ve told them that offense wins game, but defenses win championships. We need to get better as a defense.”
Like the Vikings, Reno runs the spread offense, with junior quarterback Justin Meckley and senior tailback James Mann making it go.
“We run that offense because that’s what we can do. We don’t have a 250-pound lineman that bust up a Wooster,” Rothe said.
Listening to Bough talk several days after the biggest game of his young life, you’d think some overconfidence would be seeping into the Vikings’ heads.
“We’ve got a lot of talent, but if we start to really step it up two more notches in practice and get some little fundamentals down, we can improve. Every day you can improve, and there’s always one thing you miss,” he said.
That’s not the kind of talk Reno can put on its bulletin board for an emotional lift on Saturday. So far, the Vikings are making all the right moves.
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