Vikings show off offseason sweat
The Vikings showed so much motion during the opening day of football practice that they should have been flagged for several 5-yard penalties.
South Tahoe breezed through the opening day of practice, unbothered by the near-90-degree heat.
Their crispness, energy and spirit personified a team preparing for a late-season playoff game, not a season opener 16 days off.
“We have a fairly athletic team that has put in a lot of work, they run pretty well and they know what they are doing,” said STHS co-head coach Eric Beavers. “Compared to other years, for a first practice, they know what they are doing.”
Part of the Vikings’ fluidity on Thursday could be attributed to the offseason conditioning the team embraced.
The team peeled off 10 mandatory 240-yard sprints in a morning workout as if they were receiving a $100 bill for each one.
But that doesn’t mean that all of the players hunger to run more.
“Everybody is in much better shape. They might bump it up a little bit, but I hope not,” said senior quarterback Mikey Van Gorden.
Conditioning became an issue last year when the Vikings gave up a double-digit second-half lead and lost to Bishop in their season opener.
“Tim (Jaureguito) and I used to do this all of the time,” said Viking co-head coach Todd McIntyre. “When we lost that Bishop game in the fourth quarter we started running 240s going into our second game and we couldn’t even run three without puking. Now we’re in pretty good shape and as strong as we’ve been as a whole.”
With drills directed toward speed and execution, the Vikings didn’t disappoint their coaches often.
“They better have some DBs who can play … you guys are looking good,” said assistant coach Mike Makley as his passes zipped into receivers’ hands and stayed there.
Since teams aren’t allowed to engage in full-contact drills yet, the pigskin was taking the most hits Thursday afternoon. Senior Matt Bobman’s booming punts were helping the Vikings’ return men prepare for their special duties.
Although only 27 Vikings were preparing for the rigors of a Northern Nevada League schedule that includes reigning 3A champion Bishop Manogue and defending 4A champ Reno, they looked like they enjoyed being on the field together.
“It’s a senior-based team and we’ve been playing with each other since freshman year and some of the guys have even playing together since Pop Warner,” said senior linebacker Nick Garratt. “We’ve known each other for such a long time, it’s like we’re a big, old family.
“It’s such a great feeling to be out here when you can (mesh) with your teammates, rather than struggling and whining about everything like we did last year.”
It’s only one practice, but the Vikings like where they are headed in 2004.
“I think we’re going as far as we want to go,” Van Gorden said.
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