Vikings show pride in loss to Hawks
There was little for Hug and South Tahoe to play for on Saturday afternoon in the final regular season football game in the Northern 4A. The Hawks were going to the playoffs and the Vikings were not.
But someone forgot to inform the Vikings.
South Tahoe delivered an inspired defensive effort, holding the Hawks to 222 total yards and two touchdowns in Hug’s 21-0 victory in South Lake Tahoe.
“These kids played their hearts out; I couldn’t have been prouder,” said STHS coach Mike Gorman.
Hug’s dominant defensive performance included seven quarterback sacks, including a school-record six by Popo Kilioni. Kilioni now has 16 for the season. The Hawks limited STHS to 74 total yards and five first downs.
Despite only yielding 76 rushing yards in the first 24 minutes, South Tahoe still trailed 14-0 at intermission.
Hug coach Rollins Stallworth was impressed with the passion and effort that the Vikings gave in their final game.
“It’s tough going to play a team that has more to play for than you do,” Stallworth said. “The saving grace for us is that our defense came to play like they always do.
“It’s great from my standpoint to see a group of (1-8) kids play as hard as they played and played for a coach that obviously love and respect.”
Two plays determined the first-half leader: Hug tight end Anthony Smith caught a 46-yard touchdown reception on a blown assignment and Alex Cordova picked off an ill-advised screen pass and ran 15 yards for a touchdown.
STHS’s offense struggled just to get past the line of scrimmage in the first quarter. In fact, seven of the Vikings’ opening nine plays resulted in negative yards.
But senior Elliot Pekar gave the Vikings a lift in the second period, rushing for 13 yards and catching a pass for 13 more.
“I couldn’t have had a better last game; I went 100 percent on every play,” Pekar said. “I’m not a big guy, I’m not super fast, I won’t play again, so I played with pride.”
The Vikings’ most unusual play came when quarterback Tony Stagnaro completed a pass to himself for a 5-yard gain and a first down. The pass was batted back to Stagnaro by the Hug line and the ball landed fortuitously in Stagnaro’ hands.
The Vikings had several chances to rally in the second half. Four times the Vikings reached midfield or beyond, but the Hawks never allowed STHS to reach the red zone.
Hug finally put away the Vikings when David Maveni bounced a dive play outside for a 19-yard touchdown run with 2:04 remaining.
South Tahoe, however, kept the fans in their seats during the final drive, picking up all three of their second-half first downs. The last two plays saw senior lineman Miles Wallace make two unexpected and memorable carries for 23 yards, the last of which reached the Hug 24.
“It was one of those times I could taste the end zone, I could feel it,” Wallace said. “The second time he gave me the ball I was about to throw up, but I know that it was the last time I would ever get the chance to touch the ball, so I just went as hard as I could.”
South Tahoe finishes 1-8, while Hug (5-5) plays at Bishop Manogue on Saturday in the Northern 4A regional quarterfinals.
HUG 21, SOUTH TAHOE 0
Hug 7 7 0 0 – 21
South Tahoe 0 0 0 0 – 0
H-Smith 46 pass from Williams (Macias kick)
H- Cordova 15 interception return (Macias kick)
H- Maveni 19 run (Macias kick)
First downs 10 5
Rushes-yards 36-150 37-44
Passing 72 30
Comp-Att-Int 4-15-0 5-12-1
Punts-Avg. 4-29 9-28.8
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Punt returns 4-44 3-19
Kick returns 1-20 1-11
Penalties-Yards 10-75 5-35
Passing – Hug, Williams 2-10-0-52, Bisio 2-4-0-20, Kavapalu 0-1-0-0. South Tahoe, Stagnaro 5-12-1-30.
Rushing – Hug, Bennett 14-85, Maveni 8-29, Pierce 7-28, Rowe 2-11, Bisio 1-(-14), Williams 4-11. South Tahoe, Pekar 8-26, Wallace 2-23, Klug 11-17, Fonken 5-10, Yuen 1-(-1), Stagnaro 10-(-31).
Receiving – Hug, Smith 1-46, Makeley 1-12, Rowe 1-8, Gardner 1-6. South Tahoe, Williams, 2-9, Pekar 1-13, Stagnaro 1-5, Klug 1-3.
Missed field goal: Macia, 40 yards.
Frosh-soph: South Tahoe 33-21.