South Tahoe football blasts Elko 40-0 in rain-soaked showdown
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Wet and windy weather on Friday, Oct. 14, did nothing to slow down the South Tahoe football team. Neither did its opposition.
South Tahoe routed Elko 40-0 at Viking Stadium in a 3A Northern League showdown between one-loss teams. The Vikings steadily built a lead in the first half and pulled away after the break notch their sixth straight win in dominant fashion.
“We knew this was going to be the biggest game we ever played in our careers,” Vikings senior Zen Contestable said. “Shutting them out and putting 40 points on the board was amazing — it was like no other feeling.”
The victory ensures South Tahoe a home playoff game, and means the Vikings will finish no worse than third in league. Beneath a constant rainstorm, the result rarely looked in doubt.
South Tahoe (7-1 3A Northern) opened the scoring on the fourth drive of the game Friday night, after things started with three straight three-and-outs. The Vikings drove 68 yards in 12 plays, capped by a 14-yard pass from senior Tommy Cefalu to senior Noah Jackson that made it 6-0 with 3:12 left in the first quarter.
The Vikings’ first scoring drive of the game featured three third-down conversions, including the 14-yard touchdown on third and goal. It was the first of three straight drives to reach the end zone for the hosts.
Following a defensive stop on the ensuing possession, South Tahoe marched 72 yards in nine plays for a score. Senior Jacob Bernal made multiple Elko defenders miss on a 17-yard touchdown run that put the Vikings ahead 13-0 with 10:13 left in the second quarter.
Elko (6-2) lost a fumble on a bad snap on the next drive, and two plays after junior Jakob Costley came up with the recovery South Tahoe was back in the end zone. Cefalu found junior McCallan Castles down the sideline for a 62-yard touchdown that made it 19-0 with 5:54 left in the first half.
The Indians mounted their best drive of the game after falling behind by three scores, but couldn’t get on the board before the break. South Tahoe came up with the stop on fourth-and-5 from the 13-yard line — and took a 19-point lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, South Tahoe turned a pair of Indians’ miscues into touchdowns to turn the game into a blowout. On the fourth drive of the second half, senior Gabriel Bueno stripped Elko quarterback Eric Klekas and senior Summit Moulton recovered at the 10-yard line — Bernal ran for a score on the next play.
Elko had to punt from deep in its own territory to end the next possession, but a bad snap turned the attempt into short loss and gave South Tahoe the ball at the 15-yard line. Two plays after the turnover, Cefalu connected with Jackson for a 12-yard score that made it 33-0 with 4:27 left in the third quarter.
The senior quarterback then threw his fourth touchdown of the game on the last play from scrimmage of the third quarter, finding senior Zen Contestable with a lob for a 19-yard score that put the hosts up 40-0 with 55 seconds left. The rest of the game was played with a running clock, and the Vikings easily pitched a second straight shutout.
Cefalu finished 16-of-30 passing for 247 yards, four touchdowns and one interception Friday — he completed five passes apiece to Castles (108 yards), Jackson (55) and senior Dylan Gooding (65). On the ground, Bernal ran for a game-high 115 yards and two scores on 13 carries.
Elko was held to 134 yards in the loss while rotating Klekas and senior Emmit Johnson at quarterback. Gavin Byington had 101 yards rushing on 25 carries for the Indians, who came into the game riding a two-game winning streak.
South Tahoe concludes the regular season at home Friday, Oct. 21, against Truckee (6-1). The Wolverines host Fernley Saturday, Oct. 15, at 1:30 p.m.