North Tahoe football still searching for its groove |

North Tahoe football still searching for its groove

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunNorth Tahoe quarterback Mitchell Conn serveys the field as center Matt Fenley snaps the ball during the Lakers' 26-12 loss to Mineral County on Saturday. The Lakers are now 0-1 in league and 0-2 overall.

Despite a hard-fought first half and a lead heading into halftime, the North Tahoe football team allowed the visiting Mineral County Serpents to slither to a 26-12 win in the Lakers’ league opener Saturday.

The Serpents’ unstoppable rushing attack came alive in the second half, scoring 14 unanswered points en route to the Northern 2A win.

North Tahoe showed poise early on, scoring the first points of the game when Lakers quarterback Mitchell Conn connected a short pass to receiver Leroy Valadez, who ran 28 yards for a touchdown.

Neither team’s offense could get much momentum going in the second quarter as penalties and turnovers plagued both teams. From face masks to false starts and fumbles, the ball changed hands back and forth without a threat to either end zone. The game went to the half with the Lakers up 6-0.

The Serpents came out swinging to start third quarter, driving their first possession all the way to the Lakers’ goal line before being denied by senior lineman and co-team captain James Laughlin and a spirited Laker defense. The Lakers took over on the 1-yard line but only got off a couple plays before throwing an interception, giving the ball right back to the Serpents on the 20. Mineral County capitalized on this second chance and quickly ran in a touchdown and the PAT to take the lead, 8-6.

Laker third-quarter woes weren’t quite finished, however, as North Tahoe fumbled on its next possession, giving Mineral County yet another scoring opportunity. Serpents tailback Devonte Bonner took the honors, running in a late-quarter touchdown to put Mineral County up 14-6 to end the third.

Beginning the fourth quarter, it was ‘do or die’ for the Lakers. A 1-yard touchdown run by North Tahoe junior Parker Laughlin in the opening minutes had things looking up, as although the Lakers couldn’t convert the PAT, the drive brought the scoreboard spread back to just two points ” 14-12.

And then Mr. Bonner got the ball back.

On the next Serpent possession, Bonner broke loose for his second rushing touchdown of the game, a 78-yard monster that widened the margin to 20-12.

North Tahoe’s remaining fourth-quarter offense showed little spark as dropped passes, missed routes and penalties allowed Mineral County to take over on downs twice more. Bonner also took over again, this time running in an 11-yard scamper to put Mineral County up 26-12 as the game wound to a close.

The loss put North Tahoe’s record at 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the Northern 2A.

The Lakers play a league game at Battle MountaIn on Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m..

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