Vacation is over for prep football players
Area football players will have respite from a steamy August when practice begins throughout Nevada today. In accordance with Nevada Interscholastic Activities rules, teams are required to undergo three days of conditioning before full-contact drills can begin.
Hence, players won’t don full gear until Monday at the earliest. Nonetheless, South Tahoe and George Whittell high schools will begin workouts today in earnest, enlisting in double and even triple practices.
The schools will try to make the state playoffs together for only the third time in the 1990s. Both schools lost in the state championship in 1991 and exited in the 1996 quarterfinals.
Optimism is high on both sides of the state line – and should be considering the amount of time the Vikings and Warriors have spent in the weight room and conditioning during the off-season.
“Last year, we had the talent and didn’t get our chemistry together. This year, we have less talent, but we’ve got guys who are actually willing to work harder,” said Viking coach Tim Jaureguito. “I’m having a lot of fun with this bunch of overachievers, and I guarantee that we’re going to sneak up on somebody.”
South Tahoe will try to make the state playoffs for the third straight season, having lost to Wooster and McQueen in the first round the past two years.
Some players to watch are junior quarterback Tim Sprinkles, lineman Ryan Souza, tight end Cory and fullback Bryan “Moose” Marino. However, Sam Faavesi, an all-league linebacker, won’t return for his senior season.
In the preseason, the Vikings will practice three times per day: 9-11 a.m., 2:30-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.
“I’m not punishing them. There’s so much that we have to get done,” Jaureguito said.
Meanwhile, across the state line in Zephyr Cove, confidence has soared with the return of John Summers to the coaching staff.
Summers left the program following a 6-3 season in 1992 because of the difficulty of coaching both varsity basketball and football. In three of his four years as Whittell assistant, the Warriors won a state title, finished second and just missed the playoffs.
His return couldn’t have come at a better time for Warrior rooters since the team endured its worst season in history a year ago, going 0-9.
During the past few years Summers has spent many Friday nights and Saturday afternoons observing how other prep coaches operate.
“I see a lot of teams trying to do too much for the type of kids they have. To me, you should keep it simple. Keep doing the things that work until the other teams find a way to stop you,” Summers said.
Based on the success the Warriors had running the ball in the early 1990s with Summers on the sideline, expect the Warriors to return to smash-mouth football. Compared to past seasons, the Warriors have a head start on their playbook and conditioning.
“I’ve seen the kids two or three nights per week during the summer for passing drills and running drills,” Summers said. “They are in a little better shape to begin with and they have a little better attitude. There’s not going to be a whole lot of time wasted walking through plays. It will be a matter of refining plays instead of introducing them.”
Some of the leadership duties will fall on the shoulders of Bobby Linkul and Trent Gordon.
Whittell will practice from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Whittell opens its season at home Sept. 5 against Battle Mountain, while South Tahoe plays host to Reed on Aug. 29.
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