South Tahoe Vikings flush opener, eye 1st win in Northern League opener
Gio Medina Morales can’t wait to get back on the football field tonight.
After a day or so of fretting about South Tahoe’s season-opening 50-3 loss to Bear River, the senior receiver/defensive back dumped that experience and was ready by Monday to prepare for Elko, the Vikings next opponent.
South Tahoe will host the Indians at 7 p.m. in the Northern League opener.
“We’re ready,” Medina Morales said Wednesday at practice. “Our attitudes have been positive this week. We just wanna get on the field and redeem ourselves.”
South Tahoe sophomore quarterback Jake Tarwater was nervous before he ran onto the field last week for his first varsity game. He and 16 other sophomore teammates all probably felt the same way.
After kickoff, Tarwater said it was like any other game.
“The score didn’t show up how we wanted, but I felt like we played an OK first game,” Tarwater said. “The day after we were all still mad and stuff, but we flushed it and know it didn’t matter at all. We’re thinking about next game. We don’t care what happened last week.”
South Tahoe’s loss does not hurt playoff chances in any way. The game essentially was a scrimmage with only league games deciding the Vikings postseason future.
The Vikings defeated Elko last year, 26-13, and clinched their playoff berth while essentially eliminating the Indians. It was the last victory of the season for South Tahoe.
Playing Bear River to open the season, a Northern California powerhouse, was a strategic move by South Tahoe’s head coach Louis Franklin.
“There’s a lot of similarities in the team that we just played to Elko, that’s why we scheduled that game,” Franklin said. “They run the same stuff as Truckee. We’re trying to get familiar with that style of offense. That was also a real physical team and we expect Elko to be physical. They’ll be excited, it’s their first game of the year.”
The Vikings focused this week on what they can improve. They reviewed film of Elko to learn their keys and be in the correct positions, but they just want to do better with the things they like to do on offense.
And that includes not turning it over four times in their first four possessions, even though a couple of turnovers happened on “flukey” plays.
“If we play to our potential in league every week, we’ll be fine,” Franklin said. “That’s every team, every week. But if we do what we did against a good team, make mistakes and lose the turnover battle, it’s gonna be hard to win games. So what I told them: ‘It’s all about the ball. We wanna keep it until we get to the end zone. And then on defense, we want the ball back before they reach the end zone.’ Something as simple as that is our focus this week.”
Medina Morales, who said it was an honor being named a co-team captain for the opening game, wants his teammates to keep up the positive thoughts while supporting each other.
“We have to be mentally prepared and to know what we’re doing,” Medina Morales said. “I want everyone to play with a great attitude, good effort and stick by each other’s sides.”