North Tahoe football: Lakers two points shy of first victory
Owyhee 20, North Tahoe 18
Owyhee 0 6 6 8 — 20
North Tahoe 0 10 8 0 — 18
Individual Stats (Lakers only)
RUSHING — N, 36-251: Mercogliano 14-165; Perez 10-63; Rock 1-18; Estrada 10-3; Buhler 1-2.
PASSING — N: Mercogliano 4-14-74-0-0.
RECEIVING — N: Snyder 3-39; Hurt 1-35.
The host Lakers held their own against a large Owyhee team but came up just short of their first victory, 20-18, on Saturday.
North Tahoe held slim leads in the second and third quarters thanks to a 32-yard field goal by Kevin Perez and two touchdown runs by quarterback Thomas Mercogliano.
The Braves, however — who traveled nearly 450 miles from near the Idaho border for the 8-man game — scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter to escape with the win.
After a scoreless first quarter, Owyhee senior captain Richard Pete, who’s listed as a nose guard, received the handoff at the Braves’ 2-yard line and rumbled 98 yards to the end zone. The 240-pound lineman needed the rest of the half to catch his breath after the long and surprisingly evasive sprint. The conversion failed, leaving the score at 6-0.
The Lakers cut the lead in half on their ensuing possession when Perez split the uprights with a well-struck field goal. Sophomore Raul Estrada then recovered an Owyhee fumble at the Braves’ 15-yard line, and five plays later Mercogliano punched it into the end zone from a yard out.
Perez kicked through the point-after attempt to give North Tahoe a 10-6 lead at the half.
Both teams scored touchdowns in the third quarter, which ended with the hosts up 18-12. The lead slipped away in the fourth quarter with an Owyhee TD, however, and time ran out with the Lakers trailing by two.
Owyhee, which had five players weighing 240 pounds or more, improved to 2-3 on the season while the Lakers fell to 0-6.
Mercogliano was named North Tahoe’s Overall and Offensive Player of the Game after recording 165 yards rushing and 74 passing, according to the Lakers’ stats. Fellow freshman Eli Snyder, who finished with a team-high 22 tackles and one sack, was the Lakers’ Defensive Player of the Game, and Perez was Special Teams Player of the Game.
Perez also rushed for 63 yards, while Snyder had three catches for 39 yards and Brett Hurt had 35 yards receiving on one catch. Estrada contributed 13 tackles and two fumble recoveries, Hurt had 10 tackles, and Perez and Jacob Buhler each had nine tackles.
The Lakers have three games remaining. They travel to Wells this Friday and Eureka on Oct. 16 before closing the year with a home game against Whittell on Oct. 24.
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.