South Tahoe football loses late lead at Fernley, falls 33-24
FERNLEY, Nev. — In its first road game of the season, the South Tahoe football team saw another late lead slip away en route to defeat. The Vikings lost at Fernley 33-24 on Friday, Sept. 11, giving up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter en route to a third consecutive single-digit loss to start the season.
South Tahoe (0-3, 0-2 I-A Northern) fell behind two possessions into the game, but bounced back to take a 12-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. A pair of 1-yard runs put the Vikings in front — quarterback Tommy Cefalu scored with 4:07 left and Zach Shearer found the end zone in the last minute of the opening frame.
Fernley (3-0, 2-0) scored early in the second quarter on a 29-yard pass from Kyle Throckmorton to Brandon Tracy to go in front 13-12. After both defenses made fourth-down stops, South Tahoe responded to take a lead into halftime for the third straight week.
The Vikings recaptured the lead on a 10-yard pass from Cefalu to Zen Contestable with 1:23 left in the first half. South Tahoe took that 18-13 advantage at the break.
Fernley received the ball to start the third quarter, and took the opening drive of the second half 64 yards on nine plays for a touchdown. The Vaqueros took a 21-18 lead with 7:23 left in the quarter on a 1-yard run from Sam Ramirez and two-point conversion pass.
The Vikings took the next possession down to Fernley’s 1-yard line before fumbling, but capitalized on a Vaqueros fumble five plays later to take the lead. South Tahoe’s Jackson Binns recovered a fumble on a Vaqueros’ punt attempt in the end zone with 53 seconds left in the third quarter, and STHS held that 24-21 lead until the dying minutes of the game.
Midway through the fourth quarter, South Tahoe had the ball near midfield and opted to go for it on fourth down. Fernley took over in Vikings’ territory following the failed conversion, and four plays later Throckmorton completed a 34-yard pass to Kenan McDonald on fourth-and-long that took the ball to South Tahoe’s 3-yard line.
Throckmorton scored the go-ahead touchdown two plays later, a 2-yard run that gave Fernley a 27-24 lead. South Tahoe couldn’t get a first down on its next drive, and the Vaqueros iced the game on a 24-yard run by Throckmorton with 17 seconds to play.
Cefalu finished 18-of-34 passing with 280 yards and a touchdown in the loss while assuming the quarterbacking duties. In the fourth quarter, eight of the junior’s 10 pass attempts fell incomplete.
Noah Jackson (four catches) and Darren Jackson (three catches) each finished with a game-high 68 receiving yards. On the ground, South Tahoe ran for 98 yards on 27 carries, led by Quinn Ritter’s nine rushes for 64 yards.
Fernley totaled 362 yards in the victory, including 261 on the ground — the Vaqueros had 46 run plays compared to 18 pass plays. Throckmorton accounted for three touchdowns, and carried Fernley’s offense with a game-high 134 yards rushing on 21 carries and 101 yards passing on 7-of-18 attempts.
South Tahoe returns to action Friday, Sept. 18, when it travels to play Fallon (2-1, 2-0). Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.