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Warriors, Vikes ready for some football

Steve Yingling & Jeremy Evans

After winning one game between them last year, the South Tahoe Vikings and Whittell Warriors have every reason to be excited about the arrival of the 2006 football season.

Both high schools will kick off their seasons on the road on Friday night, seeking to restore successful football traditions that have been tainted in recent years.

South Tahoe visits Galena (0-1), while Whittell tries to end a 17-game losing streak at Hawthorne. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.

“They don’t want to be known as the doormat of Northern Nevada; they want to win,” said STHS’s Mike Gorman. “It’s important for Tahoe to get off to a fast start and a good start; it kind of sets the tone.”

Gorman has been praising his hulking defense throughout the preseason and is confident with the components of the Wing-T offense that Galena must face.

“I’m extremely comfortable seeing what I’m seeing,” Gorman said. “We’re finding the pieces to place the right guy at the right position on both sides of the ball.”

And the Vikings didn’t pick a bad time – Wednesday – to have one of their best practices thus far.

“The kids are excited, they are motivated; it’s an excellent time for a game,” Gorman said.

Tough preseason scrimmages at Sparks and Truckee have prepared the Vikings for their opener, Gorman said.

“Our kids didn’t beat Truckee to the punch,” Gorman said. “These guys could bring it. Truckee could own the 4A and so could Sparks.”

Although the Grizzlies return 15 of 22 starters, they must find a replacement for running back Ryan Krueger, who rushed for 1,318 yards last year. The Grizzlies will also be breaking in a new quarterback as Jordan Arnold has graduated.

Galena struggled in its season opener last Friday, losing to Shadow Ridge of Las Vegas 24-18. The Grizzlies were 7-4 a year ago and a regional semifinalist.

The Vikings will combine the varsity and JV for one game only at Galena. The South Tahoe-Galena frosh game is set for 4:30 p.m. Friday in Reno.

Whittell, meanwhile, will battle a Hawthorne team that has only won two games the past two seasons. Both of those games came against the Warriors, who currently have the longest losing streak in Nevada.

First-year head coach John Summers looks at this week’s game as a chance to end that streak and get the program turned in a different direction.

“Hawthorne is kind of in the same boat as us,” said Summers, who coached Whittell in the 1998 and 1999 seasons. “Their program has been struggling and don’t have a lot of kids out for the team. We still don’t have an offensive playbook yet because we’re still trying to figure out what works best for us right now. We’ve had to move kids around quite a bit to get kids in the right spots.”


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