Vikings can’t stop Grizzlies’ running game
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
RENO – Galena High played like a team that already had one game under its belt, while South Tahoe struggled with opening night execution on Friday.
The Grizzlies capitalized on three STHS fumbles and an errant punt snap to post a decisive 47-0 Nevada 4A nonleague football victory.
“It’s huge,” said Galena coach Steve Struzyk, whose team lost its opener to Shadow Ridge 24-8 the previous week. “Most improvement occurs between that first and that second game. There are some organizational things we need to work on, but other than that, as far as getting after it and assignments, it was a big improvement on last week.”
Galena also took advantage of a short field with five of its seven scoring drives covering less than 45 yards. Senior running back Jimmy Sargent ran for 105 yards and scored three times as the Grizzlies controlled the point of attack.
“We were well-prepared for this team and for whatever reason they forgot where C gap was, because Galena just ran up C gap every single play,” said STHS coach Mike Gorman, who was making his head coaching debut.
South Tahoe’s Wing-T offense found little running room, totaling 70 yards on 33 plays. Sophomore Chris Klug rushed for 24 yards on four carries and provided the Vikings with their biggest play – a 24-yard gain in the second quarter.
Galena’s longest drive of the evening followed the opening kickoff. Starting on its 22, the methodically marched 78 yards on 11 plays behind the power running of Sargent and Jake Hess.
South Tahoe’s defense, however, stiffened at the Viking 34 and appeared to have the Grizzlies stopped when junior linebacker Shayne Jones stuffed a third-down play for no gain. But Galena’s fourth-down gamble paid off as junior quarterback Jacob Anderson hooked up on a 34-yard scoring strike to Steven Blackhart, who barely beat his defender. A missed extra point kept the score at 6-0 Galena.
“That’s a killer in a football game, because if we can get that momentum and keep it going and get that first shot … that’s what they did in camp, that’s what they did in the scrimmages,” Gorman said.
An ineffective opening offensive series set up the Grizzlies at the Viking 37 on their next possession. Blackhart’s 17-yard grab preceded the first of Sargent’s three scoring runs at the 2.
Turnovers then removed any chance the Vikings had of winning. Galena’s Jacob Mansfield recovered a STHS fumble at the 24, and Sargent immediately cashed in the miscue by sweeping right for the touchdown.
On STHS’s next possession, a high snap from center was covered by punter Kevin Lucero at the Viking 2. Again the Viking defense stood its ground, forcing a fourth-down play.
“It was one of those deals where we just had to keep it going. Our field goal kicker had missed the first extra point, and I wasn’t going to throw him right back out there either,” Struzyk said.
Sargent delivered again, punching the pigskin in from a yard out and giving Galena a 26-0 lead 2 seconds into the second quarter.
“I’ve been waiting for him to be the featured back for the last three years and hopefully he can just keep it going,” Struzyk said.
The Vikings’ best offensive series came next as Klug’s 24-yard gain took South Tahoe to its 44. Tony Stagnaro’s nine-yard completion to Jones and a pair of short rushes moved the Vikings to the Galena 42. But the drive stalled and the Vikings never entered Galena territory again.
“It know it takes time,” Gorman said. “But I’m very positive that we’re going to produce wins at Tahoe.”
Diana didn’t play in the second half because of concussion-like symptoms.
South Tahoe will play host to Fallon in its home opener on Saturday.
GRIZZLIES 47, VIKINGS 0
South Tahoe 0 0 0 0 – 0
Galena 19 14 14 0 – 47
G-Blackhart 34 pass from Anderson (kick failed) 2:56
G- Sargent 2 run (run failed) 4:04
G-Sargent 24 run (Ewald kick) 3:52
G-Sargent 1 run (Ewald kick)11:58
G-Parkinson 6 pass from Anderson (Ewald kick) 1:32
G-Hess 1 run (Ewald kick) 8:34
G-Demeritt 7 run (Ewald kick) 2:54
First downs 4/17
Passing yards 24/81
Punt returns 0-0/1-13
Kick returns 4-43/1-18
Passing – South Tahoe, Stagnaro 6-9-0-24; Galena, Anderson 5-10-0-81.
Rushing – South Tahoe, Klug 4-24, Diana 3-14, Jones 7-8, Stagnaro 7-0, Fonken 3-0; Galena, Sargent 17-105, Hess 9-67, Demeritt 8-33, Wilcoxson 4-32, Anderson 3-31, Hubert 5-29, Kurnik 3-10.
Receiving – South Tahoe, Klug 3-9, Diana 2-6, Jones 1-9; Galena, Blackhart 2-51, Tomaino 1-17, Sargent 1-7, Parkinson 1-6.
Missed field goals: None
Frosh score: Galena 25-0.
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