North Tahoe football | Lakers drop homecoming game to rival Incline | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe football | Lakers drop homecoming game to rival Incline

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun

Sylas Wright / Sierra SunChris Hoffmann looks for a block from Brendon Arnold during the second half of the Lakers' homecoming loss against Incline on Saturday.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; Neighboring rival Incline took advantage of costly North Tahoe mistakes to roll to a 41-7 win in the Lakers’ homecoming game Saturday.

The Lakers, who at times moved the ball efficiently on offense and looked sharp on defense, shot themselves in the foot on multiple occasions, mostly with penalties and turnovers.

and#8220;We crushed and#8216;em physically, but mentally we sucked,and#8221; said North Tahoe junior lineman Colin Spencer. and#8220;That was the game.and#8221;

Incline scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives in the first and second quarters, all aided by North Tahoe penalties, to take a 22-0 lead into the half.

North Tahoe (1-5) opened the third quarter with a clock-eating, 58-yard touchdown drive to close the gap to 22-7. But the Highlanders (3-3) parlayed a botched punt attempt on the Lakers’ next possession into a field goal, then added two more unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away.

and#8220;We played pretty well,and#8221; said Incline senior receiver and defensive back Jordan Wright, who intercepted a pass at the Laker goal line in the waning moments of both the second and fourth quarters to deny TDs. and#8220;Coming in against our rival school there was a lot of talk going around the lake, and we came in and stepped it up.and#8221;

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Both teams opened the game with three-and-out possessions before Incline got on track on its second drive.

After a late-hit penalty by North Tahoe set up the Highlanders at the Laker 15-yard line, Kyle Clouthier picked up nine yards on a run, quarterback Patrick Murray gained one on a keeper and Brendon Steinmeyer followed with a five-yard touchdown rush. Steinmeyer absorbed a big hit by Mychall Paschall but still had enough momentum to cross the goal line near the pylon.

Murray hooked up with Clouthier for the two-point conversion, and Incline led 8-0 with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter.

The Lakers answered with a couple of first downs before stalling at their 43-yard line and punting.

Riding the success of their scoring drive, the Highlanders marched 75 yards in six plays, capped by a 45-yard touchdown burst by Murray. Murray, who’s also the holder, took the snap on the PAT and instead stood and fired a strike to Wright for the conversion. Incline led 16-0 with 10:59 left in the second quarter.

and#8220;I was really excited about our intensity and physicality,and#8221; said Incline head coach Mike Evans. and#8220;We did a good job of not letting North Tahoe control the line of scrimmage. We couldn’t let them control the line.and#8221;

The Lakers emerged from the halftime break a different team as they drove down the field with an impressive 11-play, 58-yard touchdown drive that used 6 minutes and 12 seconds off the clock. North Tahoe did not commit a penalty on the drive, which consisted of all run plays from quarterback Brendon Arnold, running back Chris Hoffmann and fullback Matt Grijalva.

Arnold finally punched it in from four yards out, and Spencer kicked through the PAT to adjust the score to 22-7 with 5:48 left in the third quarter.

Momentum had swung in North Tahoe’s favor, which it used to force a turnover on downs at the Incline 10-yard line on the ensuing possession. But it didn’t last long.

After gaining two first downs, the Lakers stalled at their own 40-yard line and had to punt. The snap to Spencer sailed well over his head, and the junior did the best he could to track it down as it bounced toward the Incline end zone. His running punt just before being tackled went out of bounds at the Incline 30, setting up the Highlanders with excellent field position.

The visitors capitalized on the opportunity, using a 15-yard facemask penalty to drive to the 9-yard line, where Steinmeyer kicked a field goal to extend the lead to 25-7 with 9:19 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Things then went from bad to worse for the Lakers. On their next possession, Christian Biscotti and Jake Keller broke through the offensive line and chased Arnold deep into Incline territory. As Arnold tried to shed the two Highlanders when they locked onto him, the ball squirted from his grip. Incline junior Ben Reber picked it up and ran six yards unimpeded to the end zone. Murray hit Clouthier for the two-point conversion, and the Highlanders led 32-7 with still 8:18 showing on the clock.

Just two plays later, Incline lineman Sam Reber jumped on a fumbled North Tahoe snap, turning the ball over to the Highlanders once again. And again they took advantage, this time driving from their own 35-yard line in eight plays against a visibly discouraged Laker defense. Murray connected with a wide open Davis Bedient over the middle to cap the drive with a 16-yard touchdown strike. Already leading big, Clouthier ran in the two-point conversion, pushing the lead to 41-7 with 3:08 left.

The Lakers mounted a last-ditch effort that ended when Wright intercepted his second pass of the game at the goal line in the final minute.

and#8220;We moved the ball at will, but we killed ourselves with mistakes,and#8221; said North Tahoe head coach Scott Everist. and#8220;The kids played well in spots and they played with a lot of heart. Physically, they played great. They just made too many mistakes.

and#8220;When you run the ball like we do, you have to be disciplined, and we didn’t do a good job of that. They have the capability. They just didn’t have it today.and#8221;

Hoffmann posted his second straight 100-yard game rushing, finishing with 110 yards on 22 carries. Steinmeyer led Incline’s ground attack with 148 yards on 16 rushes.