North Tahoe football wins big on Dollar Hill
Senior running back Ernesto Mendoza scored four touchdowns and the North Tahoe High football team improved to 2-0 at home with a 41-12 win over Mineral County on Saturday.
Mineral County’s short-numbered team roster even made the Laker program look huge on the day, which was a perfect one for football with comfortable temperatures and plenty of fall sunshine.
It was Mendoza who started things off for the Lakers with a dive over the goal line just five minutes into the game.
Mendoza showed his rushing prowess again four minutes later with an 88-yard scoring run, which was followed by a missed extra point to put the Lakers up 13-0 in the first quarter.
The blocking was suspect on the possession, and Lakers head coach Scott Everist could be heard critiquing his players’ blocking from across the field.
On the next carry, North Tahoe’s blockers laid down a path and Mendoza went the distance.
“We’re still making a couple of mental mistakes,” Everist said after the game.
The mistakes were few enough to get the result, however, and Everist was happy with that.
On the first play of the second quarter, North Tahoe quarterback Ryan Blount snuck around the line for a touchdown. But due to a block in the back, the TD was called back.
Just two snaps later, Blount connected with Joe Erman, who leapt up to catch Blount’s pass deep in the end zone to put the Lakers up, 22-0.
Tyler Phillips recovered a dropped catch on a punt just before the half to put North Tahoe on the 25-yard line.
Blount ran the sneak again, and again found himself in the end zone, although this time the six points stuck. With the extra point blocked, the Lakers headed to the locker room with a 27-0 lead.
It was Mendoza leading the charge early in the second half, as well, making good on a 20-yard carry with three minutes left in the third quarter.
With just 10 seconds left in the quarter, Mineral County put its first points up on the board on a short carry, missing the extra point.
Halfway through the fourth quarter the boys from Mineral County found the end zone again on a quick drive of two nicely delivered long passes, the second of which carried into the end zone to make the score 34-12, North Tahoe.
Leroy Valadez found the end zone last for the Lakers on a 30-yard run with a minute left to play. The kick was good, and the 41-12 score held to be the final.
Zongxiang Liu sealed things up for North Tahoe with an interception on the next Mineral County drive.
“It’s always good to get a ‘W’ at home,” Everist said. “It was a good outing.”
North Tahoe finishes up its regular season schedule at home the next two weeks.
The Lakers face Silver Stage on Saturday at 1 p.m. and then host Independence on Oct. 28, also at 1 p.m.
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As another summer heads to Lake Tahoe, residents are finding ways to stay busy and one of the more popular activities to gain traction on both shores is pickleball.