South Tahoe football loses to Truckee in season finale |

South Tahoe football loses to Truckee in season finale

South Tahoe senior Austin Rhodes tackles Truckee's Kevin Malo.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Win or lose, when that final high school football game comes, and then goes, the realization rushes in that’s it’s over.

The brotherhood built through blood, sweat, tears and laughter will never be the same.

The memories will live forever, and even come to life years later with maybe a bit of embellishment. A 1-yard touchdown run may become a 65-yard romp through a foot of snow while breaking a tackle Bo Jackson-Brian Bosworth style to break free.

But first, there is hurt and there were lots of tears Friday night at South Tahoe.

Words were hard to come by for the Vikings seniors after their season came to an end with a 60-12 loss to the rival Truckee Wolverines.

Senior Kody Griffis during practice all week put off thinking about it being the final week. In the game’s final moments with a running clock, he tried to get the offensive play calls from the sideline as fast as possible, trying to milk an extra play or two before the final seconds vanished.

“I just don’t want it to end,” said Griffis, who finished his amazing season with 78 receptions for 1,112 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has twice the amount of receptions than any other receiver in the 3A Northern League.

Senior James Knudson saved his best game for last. The running back pierced Truckee’s defense for a career-high 134 yards on 22 carries. He had 12 totes for 107 yards while the game was still semi-competitive. It was his first game with 100 yards on the ground and it was highlighted by an electric 73-yard burst through the middle of the Truckee defense.

It set up the Vikings first touchdown, a 3-yard pass from Jake Tarwater to Griffis to make the score 33-6 midway through the second quarter.

“It’s definitely rough,” Knudson said about his final game. “It’s just really hard because I’ve been playing for over 10 years. I wouldn’t trade anything because I love these guys.”

Senior center Paolo Torres is the biggest and one of the strongest Vikings, but he was emotional during the pre-game senior night ceremony and postgame he was proud of his team.

“I thought we played our butts off, they are a great team,” Torres said. “We did everything we could. They deserved it. But I’m happy with the way we left it out there. I enjoyed every last bit of it. I’m just sad with it being over.”

Another Viking senior Colby Glaze set up his team’s second touchdown. He intercepted an attempted middle screen and returned it 28 yards to the Truckee 47.

Tarwater hit Griffis with a 27-yard pass and finished the 4-play drive with a 15-yard touchdown toss to Mason Hage to make it 33-12 with 29 seconds left in the half.

“We did some good stuff there in the second quarter,” said Vikings head coach Louis Franklin. “We came out flat and you can’t do that against a good team. And then we had some bodies go down and that limited us to what we could do in the second half.”

Griffis finished the night with four catches for 61 yards, Hage had five receptions for 26 yards and Tarwater completed 9 of 18 passes for 87 yards before going down with an injury in the second half.

The Vikings finished the season 1-9 overall and 1-8 in the Northern League.

“What a resilient group, I’m gonna look back very positively on these boys,” Franklin said. “They will be successful men as they grow older and that will only benefit this community. It’s a good group of kiddos. We grew a lot, I wish we had some more games with them because they are definitely getting better.”

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