Vikings survive scare at Hug
If South Tahoe High goes on to make the Northern Nevada 4A League football playoffs, the Vikings will remember their close call at Hug on Friday.
The Vikings squandered a 10-point fourth-quarter lead but came back to defeat winless Hug 30-24 in Reno.
“We had to fight for our lives. Hug is a very good 0-5 team, and we knew that going into the game. They’ve hung tough with everybody they’ve played, but they haven’t gotten the breaks when they’ve needed them,” said Viking coach Tim Jaureguito.
South Tahoe moved into the fourth-and-final playoff position in Division II with a 2-2 mark.
For a change, the Vikings emphasized a rushing attack as backs Jason Nixon, Bryan Marino and Sam Faavesi combined for 230 yards and four touchdowns. Offensive linemen Henry Hoppe, Jon Shaver, Jake Werley, Mike Downey, Brad Cimino and Seth Martin made a nice transition from pass blockers to run blockers.
“We felt with people playing the pass, especially with Bryan (Bough) out, we needed the line to step and take charge, and that’s exactly what they did,” Jaureguito said.
With their playoff hopes possibly dying, the Vikings marched 74 yards in 10 plays to go ahead for good with 2 minutes, 38 seconds left. A 10-yard reception by Tim Sprinkles on fourth down extended the drive, which ended with a 15-yard Marino run.
A subsequent two-point conversion run try was stuffed by Hug.
“They were moving the ball pretty easily on us, so I felt we should go for two and put a lot of pressure on them. That way they’d have to score twice to tie the game and send it into overtime,” Jaureguito said.
Viking junior Will Reynolds, playing his first game at strong safety, secured the win by picking off Lemich on the Viking 45 with 1:33 remaining.
Obviously Jaureguito wants to simplify the task in the future.
“I’m not disappointed in their performance, but we need to come out and take control early and not let what happen to us this week happen again next week,” he said.
Penalties and turnovers plagued the Vikings throughout much of the first half. But after falling behind 6-3 midway through the second period, the Vikings seized control with two quick touchdowns.
Garrett Kunce’s 39-yard reception set up a 15-yard TD run by Nixon. Matt Solbrig, who earlier booted a career-long 40-yard field goal, added the extra point for a 10-6 Viking lead.
South Tahoe caught Hug napping on the ensuing kickoff as Nixon recovered an on-side kick. Nixon’s 18-yard touchdown run sent South Tahoe into halftime with a 17-6 lead.
Hug struck first in the second half, but Marino’s 3-yard run capped a 58-yard drive with 3:31 left in the third quarter, making the score 24-14
But within a two-minute span midway through the final period the Hawks used a 30-yard field goal and a 26-yard touchdown run by quarterback Troy Lemich to pull even at 24.
Solbrig repeatedly helped a shorthanded Viking defense by booting kickoffs out of the end zone.
“He’s really coming into his own right now. This is really the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve had a kicker who can do the things he can do,” Jaureguito said. “He’s a real weapon because he can put it in the end zone and they have to drive 80 yards to get a score.”
The Vikings, 4-2 overall, travel to Sparks on Friday.
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