North Tahoe football stumbles in opener |

North Tahoe football stumbles in opener

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunNorth Tahoe junior Forrest Wiens looks for blockers upfield during the Lakers season opener against Biggs (Calif.) on Saturday. Wiens led North Tahoe with 125 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries in the loss.

Cut out the costly mistakes in the worst of times and the North Tahoe football team had a respectable first outing Saturday. Add the miscues to the mix, however, and the final score accurately reflects the Lakers overall performance. Physically, I thought we played pretty well. We just made mistakes in areas where you cant make mistakes, said North Tahoe head coach Scott Everist.Visiting Biggs (Calif.) capitalized on the early-season blunders more often than not, scoring 18 points off North Tahoe turnovers en route to a 48-16 win.Its good that it was a nonleague game, Everist said. Hopefully we got some issues out of the way.The four Laker turnovers hurt most. Two came on interceptions, one on a fumbled pitch and another on a fumbled snap. Three of those turnovers led directly to Wolverine touchdowns, while the Laker offense let a number of golden opportunities slip through its fingers.Despite the point discrepancy by the end of four quarters, there were bright spots for the young Laker squad namely Forrest Wiens and the North Tahoe running game, which amassed 227 yards. Wiens, a junior wingback and defensive back, ran the ball hard from start to finish, leading his team with 125 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. He also caught one pass for 28 yards. Fellow backs Leroy Valadez and Parker Laughlin complimented his effort, rushing for 55 and 32 yards, respectively, while Brandon Norris added 15 yards on one touch. Led by senior co-captains James Laughlin and Matt Fenley, the big men on the offensive line helped clear lanes for North Tahoe runners. But on several occasions missed blocking assignments resulted in stalled Laker drives.There were times when we moved the ball well, but then one or two people would make a mistake and it would shut down, Everist said. They have to realize they cant take any plays off.North Tahoes defense spent much of the game on the field as Biggs controlled the clock with a ground attack that totaled 257 yards. The Wolverines limited the Lakers to just one offensive possession in the first quarter after opening with a long scoring drive. By the end of the first half Biggs had built a 20-0 lead on three touchdowns by sophomore fullback/linebacker Frank Castro.The Lakers fired up their home crowd with a hot start to the second half.On the visitors opening possession, Castro coughed up the ball directly into the hands of James Laughlin to set up the Lakers with first down at the Biggs 20-yard line. After a Biggs penalty, Wiens took the handoff, squirted through the line and dodged his way through the secondary into the end zone for North Tahoes first touchdown. Valadez scored the two-point conversion to adjust the score to 20-8.Biggs answered with a 60-yard scoring drive in seven plays to extend its lead, then scored twice more before the Lakers got back on the board. It was impressive when they did. Starting from their own 37, junior quarterback Mitchell Conn connected with Wiens for a 28-yard gain out to the Biggs 40. Wiens then took another handoff and blasted into the open field, turning on the speed as he sprinted toward the sideline and lowered his shoulder as he banged into the pylon for the score. Parker Laughlin ran the ball for the two-point conversion, bringing the score to 42-16 midway through the fourth quarter.I thought we moved the ball well, but we couldnt get over the hump, Everist said. Hopefully well move the ball better this weekend.Thats when it counts.

The Lakers open Northern 2A league play with a home game against Mineral County (Hawthorne) on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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