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Vikings overcome seven turnovers

Michael Traum

Did an impostor hit Bryan Bough over the head and wear his uniform on Saturday?

The explanation of why the South Tahoe running back fumbled an unprecedented six times during a 31-22 win over Reno is undoubtedly atop the list of questions among Viking faithful.

The fact is, a win is a win. And Bough, who suffered a mild concussion in the opening quarter after a Reno player ripped his face mask sideways, is first to admit that it’ll never happen again.

“I felt lost, like I didn’t know what was happening. My vision was blurry, but I didn’t want to come out,” said Bough, who finally informed the Tahoe coaches of his predicament in the second half. “I’m really proud of the way the other guys picked me up. I can tell you, it’ll never happen again.”

Tahoe (3-0) relied on its other potent weapons to put away the pesky Huskies. After Bough scampered through a gaping hole for an early 6-0 lead, quarterback Bret Uppendahl engineered an air-attack drive, culminating with a 12-yard looping toss to Scott Souers in the left corner of the end zone. A 15-yarder to Corey Martin keyed the move. Matt Solbrig’s kick gave the home team a 13-0 advantage after 12 minutes of play.

“We had no idea what kind of defense they were going to play. They ended up playing a cover-two, trying to take Uppendahl out of the game. It’s a real credit to Bret. He checked to plays where guys were open,” said Todd McIntyre, Tahoe offensive coordinator.

Tahoe’s defense continually stymied Reno, while turnovers and penalties kept giving the Huskies quality opportunities. Bough’s third first-half fumble gave Reno the ball on its own 41. Justin Meckley directed Reno down field, moving the Huskies into Tahoe territory with under 7 minutes left in the half. Two Viking penalties for roughing the passer gave Reno the ball on the Tahoe 15. But Jason Bergman’s first of two interceptions stopped the Huskies in their tracks.

“I thought the defense stepped up. We were real solid on our pass rush and the linebackers looked good. We stressed being aggressive in practice. And Bergman had a great day all the way around,” said Tahoe head coach Tim Jaureguito.

Tahoe’s Jason Nixon later notched his first touchdown of the season, a 2-yard rumble, which put Tahoe up, 19-0. The Huskies answered, as Breck Dolan got behind the Tahoe defense for a 66-yard touchdown reception, ending the half, 19-6.

Reno opened the final 24 minutes with an 80-yard march, aided by two Tahoe personal fouls. But the defense again shined, as Bergman picked Meckley at the 1-yard line.

Nixon cashed in, taking the next play 99-yards to paydirt off blocks from Bough and Jake Werley, pushing the lead to 25-6. But after another defensive stand, a Bough fumble on a punt quickly gave Reno the ball on the Tahoe 18. Dolan caught a 1-yard touchdown and the subsequent two-point conversion cut the Vikes’ lead to 25-14 as the third quarter expired.

But Tahoe remained steadfast with Uppendahl calling the shots. With 9:27 to play, Corey Martin delivered a hard-fought 22-yard touchdown run after the catch to secure the win. An 18-yarder to Casey Dowling and 20-yarder to Souers highlighted the drive.

A 6-yard touchdown pass to Mike Robinson with just over one minute to play made it closer for Reno than it actually was.

“I didn’t feel any pressure (with Bough hurting). We just needed to keep playing our game. You always just have to think about the next play,” Uppendahl said. “They didn’t stop us, we stopped ourselves. They only forced us to punt twice. We didn’t play pretty, but we got the ‘W’.”

Added Jaureguito, “On offense, we’d hit at times, then we’d stutter. We never could put the whole package together. But I told the kids, you can’t expect to go out there and score 50 or 60 points a game. And a player like Bryan Bough is not above having a rough game. But he’s a strong kid and he’ll bounce back.

“We’re definitely not pleased overall and I’m not going to put all of the responsibilities on the players. There were things we needed to work on this week that we needed to improve, in terms of penalties, and we did not get any better. And I put that on my shoulders.

“But more importantly than anything else, it’s a win and we go 3-0. This is our best start since 1990.”

The Vikings face their toughest test to date when they travel to Wooster (1-2) next Saturday.


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