STHS works to put V back in Vikes
On a muggy August morning there is every reason for a school that hasn’t won a football game since 2000 to quietly go about the first half of a daily-double practice. But these South Tahoe High Vikings are approaching
the most exhausting of sprinting drills with the enthusiasm and energy of
children waiting for darkness to arrive on Halloween night.
There is optimism and excitement among the 33 Vikings and their eight-man coaching staff that has been missing since longtime coach Tim Jaureguito departed for Bishop Manogue High School in Reno.
Triggering that excitement is the arrival of a dedicated core of junior varsity players who won six of nine games last year under new varsity coach Todd McIntyre and former varsity director Eric Beavers.
“Since December we’ve brought these guys along and they’ve worked real hard in the weight room,” McIntyre said. “These two-a-days have been going really well. They’ve been doing everything we’ve been asking them to do … they have good attitudes and they are showing up on time.”
That unanimous commitment has been missing the past two years as the Vikings staggered to a pair of 0-9 seasons.
“It’s night and day (between this year and last),” said senior tailback Grant Swinney, one of 14 returning players. “We have more players to go to on offense to take some of the pressure off me.”
Consequently, the Vikings are looking at more than winning a game.
“I think we are capable of making it to the playoffs,” said Swinney, who like the other seniors on the squad have never won a football game in the program.
At the controls of what should be an offense comparable to the Viking teams of the late 1990s is junior quarterback Mikey Van Gorden. Van Gorden’s double-threat potential gives the Vikings something they’ve rarely enjoyed over the past decade and a half.
“He could potentially be the best quarterback I’ve been with in all these years because he can run and pass, whereas some of those guys (we’ve had) they were pretty much pure passers,” said McIntyre, entering his 15th season with the program. “This guy can do it all. He’s more of a Tim Sprinkles type, but he’s much, much faster.”
That deadly combination can also make a missed assignment by a lineman insignificant.
“With Mikey’s speed it makes us a lot more confident because if you don’t
execute your block, he can get out of most situations,” said senior lineman
Easing Van Gorden’s indoctrination to varsity football is an offensive line
raft with experience and size.
“It’s the biggest offensive line I’ve seen here,” McIntyre said. “Those
seniors are the key to this team, that’s the returning offensive line, the
defensive line and guys like Grant and Ryan Kraw and (Justin) McIntyre.”
The senior-laden line includes Renne Rodriguez, 235 pounds; Giesen, 190; Jose Rodriguez, 190; Chris Thorne, 265; Adam Fountain, 275; Nick Garratt, 220 and McIntyre, 240. Justin Keys, 205 and Daniel Tinlin, 185, will share time with McIntyre at tight end.
Swinney, STHS’s leading rusher a year ago, already notices a big difference in the line play from a year ago.
“I’m much more confident in the line … the holes are opening better,” he
said. “Last year, the defenses would stack the box with eight guys, knowing
that we had no kind of passing game and it made it impossible for me to go
Giesen said the line’s undoing last year was due to opposing lines’ beating them out of the blocks.
“We just didn’t get a very good push off the line last year. We’re definitely getting a better push this year,” Giesen said.
Augmenting the speed of Van Gorden and Swinney and an imposing offensive line is a swift group of receivers led by seniors Daniel Gomez and Kevin Capellino. Junior Spencer Dean and senior Colin Griffin will also see plenty of playing time since the Vikings often use four-receiver sets in their spread offense.
Senior Clyde Cryer, a varsity defensive back in 2002, will back up Swinney
and also see action at receiver.
Defensively, the Vikings will rotate most of their offensive linemen on the
defensive line. McIntyre is a potential force at defensive end, according to his head coach and linebackers Giesen, Garratt and Troy Radke will make it difficult to run at the heart of the defense.
Although he only tips the scales at 160 pounds, Oscar Moreno’s quick feet gives the Vikings another threat to sack the quarterback.
Depth in the secondary should make it hard to pass against the Vikings.
Senior Ryan Kraw and juniors Eric Domingo and Haven Wilvers will play cornerback, junior Bryan Finkel will play the team’s last line of defense at
free safety, while juniors Kyle Jones and Randy Henson will man the strong safety positions.
Kraw and junior Matt Bobman — who made 50- and 49-yard field goals,
respectively, last year — are battling for the placekicking chores.
STHS opens its season against Bishop, Calif., on Sept. 6 in Viking Bowl.
“Everybody would like to make the playoffs. We want to come out and win that first game and we’ll just take it one game at a time,” McIntyre said.
Excitement has been missing in Viking Bowl for the past two years. Now it’s back and who knows how far it will take the Vikings.
Date Foe/Site Time
Aug. 23 MANOGUE 11 a.m.
Aug. 29 At Truckee 11 a.m.
Sept. 6 BISHOP 2 p.m.
SEPT. 12 At Reed 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 RENO 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 At Wooster 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 DOUGLAS 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 10 At Carson 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 N. VALLEYS (H) 1:30 p.m.
OCT. 24 At Hug 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 SP. SPRINGS 1:30 p.m.
Note: Homes games are in ALL CAPS
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STATELINE, Nev. — The United States Golf Association recently announced that Edgewood Tahoe Resort will host one of 109 local qualifying tournaments for the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.