Vikings’ first division assignment isn’t a snap |

Vikings’ first division assignment isn’t a snap

2002 regional runner-up Reno visits on Saturday

South Tahoe High football coach Todd McIntyre won’t need to trick his team into believing that the Reno Huskies were responsible for the alleged vandalism to the “Home of the Vikings” sign at the entrance of the school Thursday.

With Reno coming to town for the Sierra Division opener on Saturday, the Vikings may need an elevator to come down to the playing field in time for the 1:30 p.m. kickoff.

“I hope we’re not safisfied with our first win,” McIntyre said. “After (Wednesday’s) practice, I can see that they are flying around, working hard and doing the things they need to do win a game.”

South Tahoe (1-1) hasn’t had this type of atmosphere surrounding a football game since defeating Galena during the 2000 Northern Nevada League playoffs. Besides the emotional lift of playing their division opener at home, the Vikings are looking to make a bigger statement after burying the longest losing streak in Nevada last Friday.

“We have to work hard this week so we can get it done, so we can bring it to Reno,” said STHS senior defensive lineman Justin McIntyre, who had five quarterback sacks against Reed. “This gives us a lot of confidence. We beat them worse than Douglas and we’re coming for more.”

South Tahoe’s surprisingly easy 35-7 throttling of Reed in Sparks halted a 20-game slide and earned them props from the losing coach.

“They are a much improved team,” said Reed coach Ernie Howren. “They have great attitude, they fly around and they are excited to be out there. There’s definitely a huge attitude change.”

Reno coach Dan Avansino didn’t return phone calls on Wednesday and Thursday. His Huskies showed what kind of defense they have by shutting out defending state champion McQueen for three quarters last Friday. McQueen rallied for a 7-6 victory — preserving the win by blocking a short field goal inthe closing seconds — but the game statistics and film indicated that Reno should have won.

“They really fly around and go to the ball like those old McQueen teams did,” said coach McIntyre. “Their defensive front is really good. We need improve our offensive line play and be more physical if want to play iwth the Renos and McQueens.

“If we can play with these guys, that would be a great sign for us.”

The region’s top-rated defense will need to do a much better job containing STHS senior running back Grant Swinney than Reed did. Swinney rushed for 275 yards, the most McIntyre has seen a Viking go for during his 15 years at the school.

Swinney’s career night, while believed to be a school record, didn’t even approach the national record. Ronney Jenkins of Oxnard Hueneme, Calif., rushed for 619 yards against Oxnard Rio Mesa in 1995. Seven of Jenkins’ 30 carries went for TDs.

South Tahoe’s defense also was much improved over its week-one performance. The Vikings limited Reed to 163 total yards after surrendering 545 yards to Bishop in a 42-38 defeat on Sept. 6.

McIntyre’s monster game coupled with improved play by the secondary (Bryan Finkel and Ryan Kraw) gave Reed little chance of mounting a second-half comeback.

As euphoric as the Vikings were following the long-awaited win over Reed, their victory was tempered by a season-ending injury to junior defensive back Haven Wilvers. Wilvers broke his arm during the second half but gamely elected to remain with his team until after a post-game celebration.

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