Record-setting Van Gorden won’t be forgotten
This could be it, South Tahoe High fans. One final chance to watch quarterback Mikey Van Gorden perform in blue and gold.
Unless you’re waiting to see the most prolific passer in STHS history in the annual Sertoma Classic in June, Friday’s playoff game at McQueen could be the final opportunity to watch Van Gorden in the prep ranks.
Van Gorden has produced the kind of season that seniors dream about: more than 2,400 yards passing, 26 touchdown passes and seven rushing touchdowns.
“He’s accounted for almost 3,000 yards and 33 of our 36 offensive TDs,” said STHS co-coach Todd McIntyre. “Mike has broken Jared Uppendahl’s records and Jared got to play in 11 games. Mike’s done in 10 games what Jared did in 11.”
McIntyre has seen a shipload of outstanding quarterbacks pass through the Viking program, including the Uppendahl brothers, Bret and Jared; and Tim Sprinkles to name a few.
“He’s probably the best overall quarterback, at least as far as in the 16 years I’ve been here,” said McIntyre, who has been the varsity head coach for the past two years and either an assistant or JV head coach during his time at STHS.
What separates Van Gorden from the other great Vikings’ signal-callers is his ability to throw and run with equal effectiveness.
“Mike has more overall skill,” McIntyre said. “He makes things happen when everything else falls apart.”
Asked earlier in the season to compare himself with Van Gorden when he was a high school senior, legendary Wolf Pack quarterback Eric Beavers said that STHS’s current QB is more talented.
McIntyre said that most of the notable QBs who have come through the program in the past decade and a half have had more stable offensive lines and a running game to help their passing numbers.
However, an experienced and talented receiving core led by senior Spencer Dean has made the Vikings’ passing attack click.
“I didn’t think I’d get this much of chance of throwing the ball, especially after last year with a back like (Grant) Swinney. We have to get everything spread out because our running game hasn’t been going too well,” Van Gorden said. “There are some things I could have done better, but nothing I can do about it now.”
McQueen coach Ken Dalton can relate to the type of season Van Gorden is enjoying. In 2001, Jeff Rowe, now the starting quarterback for Nevada, passed for 2,200 yards and 26 touchdowns.
“That’s pretty unheard of. My hat is off to him,” Dalton said.
Consequently, even someone playing half of his games in the middle of a forest of pine trees has been noticed by several colleges.
“I’ve gotten a few letters … from San Diego, St. Joseph’s of Indiana and Cal Poly,” said Van Gorden, who is determined to become a college quarterback.
There’s no doubt which Viking who will command the most attention on Friday night.
Van Gorden and the Vikings have nothing to lose. They are 3-7 and not expected to upset the unbeaten Lancers. Can the league’s best player possibly beat the league’s best team.
“I know McQueen and coach Dalton respect Mike and I know they’ll have a good game plan to take away what Mike does,” McIntyre said.