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They don’t think they’re saviors

Column by Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

No one gave them huge signing bonuses or free use of a condominium in Hawaii.

Heck, they didn’t even receive a guaranteed five-year deal.

Chris Morgan and Rod Robison accepted a challenge this summer and expected nothing in return.



As interim co-varsity football coaches, Morgan and Robison have the arduous task of preparing a South Tahoe team that is, for the most part, outmanned, outsized and outworked going into the 2002 high school season.

But those obstacles don’t bother them.



“In my life I haven’t made all the right decisions, but I’ve really focused on doing the best I can,” Robison said. “Sometimes that means I’ve been given second chances and I’ve taken advantage of them.

“They’re still kids. These kids wanted to come out, and I wanted to support them.”

As a Viking football player in the mid-1980s and STHS coach for the past nine seasons, Morgan didn’t allow a coaching controversy to impede the commitment he has to STHS football.

Morgan bleeds blue and gold.

“Personally, I’m not looking at it like being a savior,” Morgan said. “As alumni, someone who played for this program and someone who coached here for a while, I want to see the program keep moving forward.

“I was going to do whatever I could and continue whatever I can for South Tahoe High football in whatever capacity is needed.”

When daily doubles began Aug. 15, the coaches were uncertain how many players would turn out following the contested resignation of Eric Beavers, who now is an assistant with the JV program.

But players who were disinterested in working out during the summer returned to the program in time for practice, and the Viking roster has expanded to 25. By the time they kick off the 2002 season Sept. 7 against Reed at home, the Vikings will have three weeks of practice under their belts.

“We have 25 kids who want to play ball and that’s better than having 45 with only 20 who want to play ball,” Robison said. “All the kids we have out there want to step out on the field.

“They’re learning some teamwork, they’re learning some life skills and they’re learning how to believe in themselves.”

Picking up football fever in August isn’t enough to compete with Northern Nevada heavyweights like McQueen, Elko, Wooster, Galena and Douglas. A two-and-a-half-month approach to football is all right if the game can remain fun and mediocre seasons are acceptable.

Even though there are hard-working and dedicated players on the roster, this obviously is the Vikings’ fun bunch.

So fans shouldn’t expect one of the typical postseason berths Tim Jaureguito’s teams routinely produced during the 1990s.

“For now, we want to get better every day,” Morgan said. “Every opportunity to go against another team or in practice, we just want to get better. We haven’t talked about any goals of wins and losses.”

One thing is certain, though. Morgan and Robison won’t quit on the Vikings. Their players owe it to these coaches to reciprocate that same loyalty.


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