South Tahoe football travels to play winless Dayton, looks to extend streak
The South Tahoe football team is playing the best it has all season, and has two straight wins to show for it. On Friday, Oct. 10, the Vikings will look to extend that streak against an opponent that has struggled throughout the 2015 campaign.
“We can’t overlook anyone,” Vikings head coach Louis Franklin said. “We’re not that good of a team to where we can show up and people will get scared of us — we still have to play our game.”
South Tahoe (2-4, 2-3) faces Dayton (0-6, 0-5) on the road in a Div. I-A Northern League contest Friday night at 7 p.m. In six games, the winless Dust Devils have yet to score while allowing nearly 50 points per game.
“It looks exactly how you picture it — they struggle on offense and they’re better defensively,” Franklin said. “The coach does a good job and his kids play hard; they definitely don’t roll over, they’re just limited in what they can do.”
The Vikings and Dust Devils have met each of the past six seasons, with the teams trading victories every other year. South Tahoe beat Dayton 28-2 last season on homecoming for its only win at Viking Stadium, and won the last time the teams met in Dayton in 2012.
“We’re definitely not looking past Dayton,” Franklin said. “We’ve already set goals for this game to help us reach our ultimate goal, which is to get to the playoffs.”
When South Tahoe has the ball Friday night, the main focus will be to keep it. The Vikings have had at least one turnover in each of their first six games, and want to play turnover-free football against Dayton.
South Tahoe ran its offense quarterbacked by Tommy Cefalu with tempo and had balance for the second straight week in its 24-8 win over Wooster last Friday. Despite scoring three touchdowns, it was a relatively disjointed performance for the Vikings — against the Dust Devils, they will look for more continuity along with efficiency in the red zone.
“It was the first game where it never really felt like we were in rhythm — we were in control, but it didn’t feel in rhythm,” Franklin said. “We have some tougher games on our schedule later down the road, and need to make sure we get better on Friday night.”
The Vikings’ defense came five minutes away from delivering a second straight shutout last week, and is playing the best it has all season. South Tahoe has only allowed two touchdowns in its last nine quarters — against Dayton, it will look to continue its strong play with an emphasis on communication and scheme.
“We need to just keep playing with that same tenacity and aggressiveness from the past couple weeks,” Franklin said. “The kids are doing a better job of not reaching for tackles and flowing to the ball.”
South Tahoe is on a two-game winning streak, and will likely need to close out the regular season with wins in each its last four games in order to make the playoffs. Friday’s contest at Dayton ends a stretch of winnable matchups while road tests at Elko (Oct. 16) and Truckee (Oct. 31) remain.
“We understand that we’re playing for a bigger goal,” Franklin said. “But our goal is to go 1-0 each week and get into the playoffs.”
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