Vikings face adversity going into division opener
Nobody told Eric Beavers that it was going to be easy in his first season at the helm of South Tahoe Vikings football program.
Implementing an in-season weight training program and introducing most of his starters to varsity football have been enormous challenges by themselves.
However, Beavers and the Vikings have a little more adversity to overcome when they travel to Reno for their Northern Nevada 4A division opener Friday. Four regulars will miss the game, including junior quarterback Brandon Tinlin.
Tinlin will miss the game because of disciplinary reasons, while three teammates are recovering from injuries: junior tight end Jason Domingo (concussion), senior offensive tackle Aaron Christensen (knee) and senior defender Todd Lee (enlarged spleen).
“It’s been a week where the team could make excuses or disassemble a bit. We have a bunch of reasons why we shouldn’t win or come together,” Beavers said. “Or we can tell them that this is going to be a great victory. Here we are playing on the road and we still got it done. We’ve challenged them for the latter.”
Backup quarterback Langdon Owen, a 5-foot-10 junior who also plays defensive back, will share the signal-calling duties with junior varsity quarterback Kevin Woodman.
“(Offensive coordinator) Todd McIntyre has put together a game plan that allows them to perform comfortably and takes a little bit of the mental pressure off them and places it more on the coaches,” Beavers said.
Reno enters the league opener fresh from two lopsided victories, while the Vikings are smarting from a 52-3 licking from McQueen on the heels of a hard-fought 30-21 defeat to Reed.
“I’m really impressed with Reno’s overall team speed, and they play really hard,” Beavers said. “Speed is an important factor in who is going to win games, so I think they should be one of the (division) favorites.”
Last week, the Huskies rushed for nearly 200 yards in racing to a 47-6 halftime lead against Sparks. Switching between 3- and 2-back sets, the Huskies’ four horsemen – quarterback Brandon Bishop-Parise and running backs Travis Longobardo, David Edington and Nate Dolan – made life miserable for the Railroader defense.
Beavers is hoping that his defense can stop what has been ailing it the first two weeks of the season.
“Our defense will have to play up to its potential,” Beavers said. “What we have done is give up big plays. If we can make them drive the field, we will be much improved.”
Senior middle linebacker Garrett McIntyre and senior cornerback Travis VanArnum impressed Beavers with their play last Saturday.
“Garrett is one of the players who matched up well with McQueen. He’s been training hard, playing hard and it shows in his performance. Travis made some really great tackles and seems toe understanding the game really well. He played so well that he gets to be on both sides of the ball this week.”
VanArnum will also play wide receiver.
Senior offensive lineman Nick Alexander also earned some props from Beavers.
“He received a pretty good contusion on his arm early in the game and never pulled himself out. He continued to battle against a quality McQueen team,” Beavers said.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.
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