Lakers football looks to rebound | SierraSun.com

Lakers football looks to rebound

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun

It’s going to take more than the 38-6 season-opening loss at Faith Lutheran on Friday to bring down North Tahoe football coach Scott Everist.

Still recuperating from the 18-hour round trip to Las Vegas to face the Southern 3A school, the fourth-year Lakers coach remains optimistic.

“The kids played hard,” Everist said. “We were able to move the ball, and we played well on defense. In the end (Faith Lutheran) just overpowered us.

“But we’re proud of the kids.”

The Lakers ” who are playing an independent schedule this year in transition between the Northern 3A and 2A ” simply ran out of gas as the game progressed, the coach said, adding that the score was tied 0-0 after one quarter.

At the end of the half, the Crusaders had built a 17-0 lead.

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“We had guys coming out (of the game) because they were exhausted,” Everist said of his players, many of whom are forced to play both ways (offense and defense) due to the team’s minuscule roster.

“Probably one of our biggest challenges is with numbers,” said Everist, who had only 23 players travel to Las Vegas. “It was a big challenge for us to even get ready for a game.”

When a player did need a break on Friday, Everist found that oftentimes there was no one familiar with the position to make the replacement.

“It makes you really have to be on your toes as a coach,” he said.

North Tahoe has only six returning seniors on the roster. Two of them have four years of experience while three have never played high school football before this year.

“It’s hard to get kids out for the team. Without a JV program, it’s tough,” Everist said.

However, in spite of the loss, Everist saw “a lot” of positives to build on. He also gave credit to the Crusaders for their execution.

“Faith Lutheran played well,” he said. “They scored on some big plays. Overall, we played well on defense. We stopped them a lot.

“We’re pretty happy with how things are going. We’re just gonna keep on truckin’.”

Everist noted the quality play on Friday from senior quarterback/free safety Ryan Blount and junior fullback/middle linebacker Joe Erman ” the two hooked up on a pass in the end zone with three seconds remaining for North Tahoe’s only score ” as well as senior running back/defensive back Ernesto Mendoza and sophomore lineman James Laughlin.

Back in practice this week in preparation for this coming Friday’s matchup against 2A Lovelock (7:30 p.m. kickoff at Lovelock), Everist said the coaching staff is going back to the drawing board.

“We’re going to work on fundamentals this week,” he said. “We’re going to reverse a little bit and go back to the basics and concentrate on making individual players stronger.”

Lovelock, the 2A state runner-up to Lincoln in 2005, should pose another test for the understaffed North Tahoe squad.

“They’re no slouch,” Everist said.