Young defense faces many options in opener at Sparks |

Young defense faces many options in opener at Sparks

One way to demoralize a quick-strike offense is to control the time of possession.

South Tahoe High expects to see a unique offensive scheme in its season opener Friday in Sparks. The Railroaders run an option attack, pressuring opposing defenses to stay within their responsibilities and avoid overpursuit.

The Vikings’ may not see the option for the remainder of the season, putting the onus on a young defense to limit Sparks’ drives so the unit can give its potent offense as many opportunities as possible.

“Defensively, that’s our big question mark. We have to be able to play solid defense,” said Vikings coach Tim Jaureguito, whose defense is comprised of nine new starters. “Any time you run into an option team, it presents a number of problems.”

Sparks returns six starters on offense and three on defense from a 1999 squad that pulled off one of the Northern Nevada 4A playoff shockers of the decade.

“Beating Wooster in the playoffs last year was a huge boost for their football program and made believers in the program,” Jaureguito said.

While Sparks coach Rob Kittrell lost many of his skilled position players, senior quarterback Adam Quick returns as well as senior receiver Frankie Albert.

“We need to be able to play together as a team, and as everyone else in the league, play mistake-free football,” Kittrell said.

If the game is tight entering the fourth quarter, STHS may have a decisive edge because of its two-platoon system.

“One thing that may hurt them is having as many as six guys go both ways,” said Jaureguito, who will only have one player seeing double duty, Jerry Seeley.

Seeley, a senior, will play wide receiver and safety.

While questions surround the Vikings’ defense, STHS’s spread offense may put the rest of the league on its heals.

“From a spectator standpoint, it should be really exciting to watch. Any number of people can score at any given time at any point on the field,” Jaureguito said.

A cast of seniors, including quarterback Jarred Uppendahl, running back Jake Hurwitz and receivers Seeley, Immanuel Williams and Ryan Hickey, are capable of scoring in bunches, as they did in a scrimmage with defending division champion Wooster. The Vikings cored four touchdowns, three on Uppendahl passes to Williams, in its first 12 plays of last Saturday’s scrimmage. Still, Jaureguito feels this explosive group has something to work on.

“We need to establish a running game. We’ve shown that we can throw the ball, but we need to show we can run the ball,” he said.

Jaureguito’s players realize how important it is to work out the kinks during the nine-game regular season.

“Our goal is the zone championship. We’re just taking it one game at a time starting with Friday night,” Uppendahl said.

Game time is 7 p.m.

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