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Vikings go into ‘bye week’

Steve Yingling

High school football teams aren’t as fortunate as the college and pro ranks in that they don’t have a luxurious bye week to heal injuries.

Consequently, an impaired South Tahoe Vikings may treat Friday’s matchup with Sparks as one – albeit out of no disrespect for the 2-4 Railroaders.

“It’s a noncounter. We have an opportunity to gather ourselves, get healthy and come back for the rest of our season, which is two division games,” said Viking coach Tim Jaureguito.

Jaureguito plans to rest tailback Bryan Bough (shoulder), offensive lineman Ryan Souza (concussion), cornerback Jason Bergman (strained back muscles) and defensive line/outside linebacker Mike Hanson (shoulder) and receiver/free safety Scott Souers (disciplinary reasons).

“To me, I don’t want to risk getting them injured when we need them down the stretch,” Jaureguito said.

Bough, who suffered a slight tear of the AC joint in his right shoulder two weeks ago against Carson, may not play the following week in a critical Division II clash with Douglas in South Lake Tahoe.

“It’s still real sore. He can move his (right) arm around pretty good, but if he puts any weight on it (like shoulder pads) or bumps it, it’s painful,” Jaureguito said of his star back, who had 12 touchdowns in the first four games.

The Vikings, 2-2 in Division II and 4-2 overall, can finish as high as second or third place by winning their final two games.

Last Friday, the Vikings strayed from their spread offense and mixed in some Wing-T plays. Backs Bryan Marino, Jason Nixon and Sam Faavesi combined to rush for 230 yards and four touchdowns as the Vikings squeaked past Hug, 30-24, in Reno.

“It’s really nice this time of the season because you get a really good look at everybody (film-wise),” said Sparks third-year coach Billy McHenry. “We’re prepared for both the spread and Wing-T. It’s not like we’re going, ‘Boy, I hope they do this or I hope they do that.'”

Hug thrived with an option attack in the second half against the Vikings, scoring 18 points. As a result, Jaureguito expects the Railroaders’ game plan to center around the triple option.

“They have to play assignment football and count on the guy next to them,” Jaureguito said. “The Hug guy that hurt was their quarterback Troy Lemich, and Sparks’ best athlete is their quarterback Andy Johnson.”

Sparks, which sits in second place in Division I at 2-1, was run over by Lassen 35-14 last Friday. The score was misleading since the teams were tied at 14 at halftime, and Sparks fumbled twice inside the Lassen 10 in the third period.

“They are a team with some veteran players and they’ve filled in with some younger players who fit in well with their scheme,” Jaureguito said. “The key to beating Sparks is to get ahead because they run the option. They only throw four or five times times a game.”

Lassen running back Oscar Rigg could have opened his own real estate office after shredding Sparks for 286 yards.

“I’m taking nothing away from Northern Nevada backs like Bryan Bough and Mitch Jones, but this kid is the best guy I’ve seen in Nevada or California,” McHenry said. “We actually felt like we played one of our better games of the season and still got beat by 21 points.”

Running back Eric Carter rushed for 150 yards, and Johnson also surpassed the 100-yard barrier as the Railroaders ran for 300-plus yards.

For the second consecutive Friday, the Vikings are supposed to serve as homecoming fodder.

“For some reason or another everyone has chosen South Tahoe for their homecoming,” Jaureguito said.

An apologetic McHenry said South Tahoe wasn’t his homecoming choice.

“We looked at our schedule for somebody we can beat, and we didn’t have anybody. I told the administration, ‘You pick it, because I can’t,” McHenry said.

Game time is 7:30 p.m. Friday.


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