Vikes strive to raise play in home opener |

Vikes strive to raise play in home opener

Steve Yingling

South Tahoe High’s football team used to beat Fallon like a drum.

But how times have changed.

Fallon has now assumed the bully role when it meets the Vikings on the gridiron. The Greenwave thoroughly dismantled the Vikings 41-0 in Fallon for the team’s only win last year. It was a small step backward for a program that won three games in 2004.

Early season defeats to Fernley (10-7 in 2 OTs) and Reno (34-7) may portend a long season, but the Greenwave is focusing on improving before the games really count.

Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. matchup between the Vikings and Greenwave signals the final nonleague game for each team before the schools begin division play the following week. The game also marks the Vikings’ home opener.

“The kids are very jacked about it,” said STHS coach Mike Gorman. “We had a very poor performance against Galena, and they understand that South Tahoe has to get off to a good start.

“Fallon is another challenge, and we are the doormat of the Nevada 4A until we bring ourselves up and set a different standard.”

South Tahoe must improve its play on the defensive line to have a chance against Fallon. Gorman was disappointed with his linemen coming out of their stances too high in a 47-0 defeat to Galena.

“We were getting blown back, and that’s just technique,” Gorman said. “Sometimes good blocking and tackling, no matter how big you are, it overtakes size.”

Galena power runner Jimmy Sargent was the focal point of STHS’s defensive effort last week, while fleet-footed Joe Leon will have the Vikings’ attention on Saturday.

Leon rushed for 67 yards against Fernley but topped that performance by amassing 94 yards vs. Reno. Leon, the 2005 regional 400-meter champ, also scored Fallon’s only TD against the Huskies, taking a pitch nine yards for a score.

The Greenwave also has a tendency to put the ball in their tight end’s hands – and for good reason. Lyle Gardner, a 6-foot-4, 227-pound talent is being recruited by several Pac-10 schools. Gardner, who also plays linebacker, caught five passes for 67 yards last week against Reno.

Fallon trailed Reno 27-0 at halftime, but it was a different story after intermission.

“We outplayed them in the second half,” said Fallon coach Ray Holladay of the 7-7 score in the final 24 minutes.

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