South Tahoe High, Truckee face off in Sierra Bowl Saturday
South Tahoe senior lineman Logan Langemeier remembers playing rival Truckee last season. He remembers the heartbreak at Viking Stadium. He also remembers the satisfaction of celebrating on the Wolverine’s home field after knocking them out of the playoffs.
South Tahoe lost 21-20 in the regular season battle for the Sierra Bowl trophy. And that loss was a bitter pill to swallow.
“We were pissed about that,” Langemeier said. “They came out on our field, warmed up on our side and had the Sierra Bowl trophy over their heads and we had to sit there and watch all that crap happen. This year, I wanna take that trophy home on the bus and paint it the blue and gold colors it deserves.”
After the 28-20 playoff victory, Langemeier and the Vikings celebrated on Truckee’s turf for a while when the final seconds ticked off the clock.
“I got to party on their field and watch their whole team just have to sit on their sideline and watch us until we shook hands,” Langemeier said. “That’s a great feeling and I want that again.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s game is at 1:30 p.m. in Truckee. South Tahoe is 5-3 in league and Truckee is 6-2. The winner Saturday will get a first round home game in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association 3A Northern League playoffs.
If the Vikings do beat their rival to the north, they will again have to defeat the Wolverines the very next week in the first round of playoffs.
Just ask Truckee how hard it is to beat a rival twice in the same season.
Last year’s playoff win was the first for South Tahoe against Truckee in their last eight meetings.
If the Vikings lose, they’ll earn the No. 5 seed in the six-team playoff bracket and be on the road, likely at Spring Creek (6-2 Northern) or Churchill (6-2 Northern).
“This is the biggest game of our season,” said Vikings star receiver Mccallan Castles, who caught three TD passes last year in the playoff victory over Truckee. “It’s a rivalry game and we can control our own fate. If we win, we have a home playoff game. If we lose we have to travel halfway across Nevada or farther. We all want to win. The coaches want it and the whole community wants us to beat Truckee.”
For the seniors, they know what’s coming when they step onto the field in Truckee. There will be hoards of fans and lots of noise from each passionate fan base. The field may be moist. And there will be a song playing that drives the Vikings out of their minds.
“I hate playing there, it gets me in the worst mood I can be in,” Langemeier said. “They play that damn TNT song (AC/DC) all the time. They purposely water up the field before we come on, they watered up the stairs too last year. I love when we score because you see their whole town out there sit in silence. They have nothing to say. For us, they have these tiny bleachers and we’ll have the whole town there on those teenie tiny bleachers — and I hope we break them.”
“Everybody from the North Shore is on one side and everybody from the South Shore is on the other, it’s crazy,” Castles said. “You hear TNT from AC/DC on every play and that frickin’ sucks.”
“Truckee loves their football,” said Vikings senior Matt Cain. “They always have a big rowdy crowd. It’s loud and intense, but it’s always fun. Some people get intimidated, but I love just seeing them hate us.”
Truckee averages 260 yards rushing per game and about 160 yards through the air. Quarterback Marcus Bellon has completed 79 passes and 23 have gone for touchdowns. The Wolverines’ top three receivers have 48 catches between them and 20 of those have gone for TDs.
The Wolverines also spread the wealth at running back. They have eight rushers who have at least 186 yards for the season and three who have over 400 yards, but nobody has reached 500 yards yet.
On the Vikings’ side, when they run the ball, Jakob Costley gets the ball 75 percent of the time. He has gained 977 yards and scored 10 TDs on 125 carries.
Cain is the team’s leading receiver with 39 catches for 752 yards and six scores. Castles, who missed two games and change, has 26 receptions for 575 yards and a team-leading nine TDs.
The Vikings average 229 yards through air per game and 161 yards on the ground.
Practice was “ramped up” this week at South Tahoe. There was more intensity and there was no patience from the coaching staff for mistakes, especially the mental kind.
The weather forecast for Saturday’s game calls for sunny skies and an afternoon high of 73 degrees with light winds.
“We’re stepping it up because we’re trying to get better and better every week,” Castles said. “That’s how championship teams win and we’re trying to create that platform to where we expect nothing but close to perfection. It would be the whole world to get that Sierra Bowl. And to get that win and momentum heading into playoffs would be great.”