STHS snaps losing streak
Two weeks ago, Tony Stagnaro was South Tahoe High’s starting quarterback. On Saturday, he caught the winning touchdown pass from the guy who replaced him as STHS won its first game of the season with a 21-20 Sierra League victory in its homecoming game at Viking Bowl.
Stagnaro, who missed last week’s game at Carson, caught an 80-yard TD pass from Willy Ervin with 1 minute, 2 seconds left in the fourth quarter and finished with five catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
“We had to make the change last week and Tony said ‘I will play receiver, coach. I don’t have problem with that,'” said STHS coach Chris Morgan, who earned his first win as head coach of the Vikings’ program. “Tony stepped up and that was an unselfish move on his part. He did what the team needed. What a combination, though, the new quarterback to the new receiver.”
Ervin, who threw for 187 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-21 loss to Carson last Friday, threw for another 213 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers. But after his long TD pass to Stagnaro put the Vikings up 21-14, he had to wait several minutes before he recorded his first win as the team’s starting quarterback.
With 56 seconds left in the game – and starting from its own 47 – North Valleys quarterback Bryce Deahl connected with Corey Gorges on a 16-yard pass. But as the Vikings collapsed on Gorges, he converted a successful hook and lateral to teammate Chris Castellanos, who was running down the sideline and sprinted to the South Tahoe 10-yard line.
However, a roughing-the-passer penalty on the Vikings during the play gave the Panthers first and goal from South Tahoe five-yard line. Two plays later, Castellanos scored on a one-yard TD run to make it 21-20 with :33 remaining.
“We had missed a field goal earlier in the game and our kicker is just a sophomore,” said Panthers’ coach Jason Ehlen. “He’s a great kid, but I think the nerves would’ve been tough on him. Being on the road and feeling like you have a chance to win the game right there, we went for two. South Tahoe rose to the occasion and made the play.”
Deahl went for the two-point conversion on a quarterback keeper but was met by a gang of Vikings at the 1-yard line, just inches from the end zone. After the ensuing kickoff, Ervin took a knee and the Viking student body left the stands and flooded onto the field.
“That was pretty cool,” Stagnaro said. “It was great to see. I think the whole team is improving. Our defense has always been good, but our offense is really starting to take shape now. I think the coach’s made the right decision. Will is the right guy at quarterback, and I think I am better at receiver.”
South Tahoe’s defense had difficulty limiting Castellanos, one of the state’s leading rushers. He finished with 215 yards on 33 carries and scored on a 27-yard run in the first quarter gave the Panthers (2-4 overall, 1-2 league) a 7-0 lead.
But Stagnaro’s 21-yard TD catch from Ervin in the third quarter put the Vikings on the scoreboard, then Tyler Lasteri’s seven-yard TD run at the start of the fourth quarter tied the game at 14. Lasteri finished with 88 yards rushing.
It was South Tahoe’s first win of the season, snapping a nine-game losing streak, and its second straight homecoming victory. The Vikings (1-5, 1-2) won their only game of the 2006 season with a 20-10 homecoming victory over Wooster.
“We’ve been asking our guys to improve every week,” said Morgan, whose team hosts Reno on Saturday at Viking Bowl. “We saw a huge improvement last week against Carson and more improvement this week. When you put forth the effort, good things happen. And we did that today. With everything that has happened in the community, this was a special win.”
SATURDAY’S NORTHERN 4A BOXSCORE
SOUTH TAHOE 21, NORTH VALLEYS 20
NV 0 7 7 6 – 20
ST 0 0 7 14 – 21
NV-Chris Castellanos 27 run (Robert Lowry kick), 3:27
ST-Tony Stagnaro 21 pass from William Ervin (Gary Prescott kick), 7:21
NV-Bryce Deahl 2 run (Lowry kick), 1:47
ST-Tyler Lasteri 7 run (Prescott kick), 10:06
ST-Stagnaro 80 pass from Ervin (Prescott kick), 1:02
NV-Castellanos 1 run (2 pt conversion failed), :35
Rushing – North Valleys: Chris Castellanos 33-215, Cody Croxon 3-10, Bryce Deahl 4-10, Joshua Matson 3-1, Jacob Arroyo 1-0, Will Bell 5-(minus 9); South Tahoe: Tyler Lasteri 22-81, Nathan Pedrajita 1-2, William Ervin 6-(minus 28).
Passing – North Valleys: Will Bell 2-10-0-26, Bryce Deahl 3-5-0-30; South Tahoe: William Ervin 10-22-1-213.
Receiving – North Valleys: Chris Castellanos 2-35, Nathan Brown 1-21, Corey Gorges 1-16, Cody Camacho 1-6, Zach Kovich 1-5; South Tahoe: Tony Stagnaro 5-135, Mike Burns 2-44, Chris Klug 2-27, Chris Eidam 1-20.