North Tahoe football: Young Lakers optimistic about future | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe football: Young Lakers optimistic about future

Sylas Wright
swright@sierrasun.com
North Tahoe freshman Kevin Perez ran the ball hard against the Warriors, consistently gaining yards after initial contact.
Sylas Wright / Sierra Sun |

Whittell 68, North Tahoe 0

Whittell 46 16 6 0 — 68

N. Tahoe 0 0 0 0 — 0

First Quarter

W — Moretti 62-yard pass from Buchholz (kick blocked) 11:09

W — Chaplin 23-yard pass from Buchholz (Corey Huber pass from Buchholz) 9:31

W — Chaplin 6-yard pass from Buchholz (Corey Huber run) 6:29

W — Corey Huber 22-yard run (Connor Huber run) 3:59

W — Corey Huber 2-yard run (Corey Huber run) 3:04

W — Corey Huber 22-yard run (Moretti pass from Buchholz) 1:26

Second Quarter

W — Corey Huber 34-yard run (Corey Huber run) 10:07

W — Corey Huber 50-yard pass from Buchholz (Moretti pass from Buchholz) 7:21

Third Quarter

W — Womack 5-yard run (run failed) 7:25

Individual Stats

RUSHING — W, 32-313: Corey Huber 9-156; Connor Huber 6-51; Womack 8-42; Moretti 3-40; Barnwell 4-12; Buchholz 1-11; Dingman 1-1. N, 23-36: Perez 9-29; Mercogliano 9-6; Lutz 4-3; Buhler 1-(-2).

PASSING — W: Buchholz 5-8-172-0-4; Dingman 0-1-0-0. N: Mercogliano 4-21-22-2-0.

RECEIVING — W: Moretti 2-93; Corey Huber 1-50; Chaplin 2-29. N: Hurt 1-12; Lamberth 1-12; Kriston 1-3; Rock 1-(-5).

TAHOE CITY — The young North Tahoe football team will enter the offseason with a promising outlook toward the future.

Despite ending an 0-9 season with a 68-0 home loss to Division IV juggernaut Whittell on Saturday, the Lakers showed steady improvement and played hard till the final whistle — this with a 19-man roster that included 12 freshmen.

The Lakers will lose only one senior to graduation, Jacob Buhler, who was honored in a senior farewell ceremony before Saturday’s contest.

“We were primarily a JV team playing a varsity 8-man schedule this year, so our record from this season is not too indicative of where we are really at,” North Tahoe coach Scott Everist said. “Our physicality improved each week, as well as our execution of plays and understanding of the game.

“We finished the season playing two unbeaten teams with primarily frosh players. While that was tough, it will help in the future.”

The undefeated Warriors, who are averaging 59 points a game in their eight wins, amassed 485 yards of offense and led 46-0 after one quarter. Whittell added 16 points in the second quarter to extend its lead to 62-0 by the half. With the game out of reach, officials used a running clock in the second half.

North Tahoe struggled to move the ball against the Warriors’ athletic defense, which limited the hosts to 58 yards of total offense. To their credit, the Lakers tackled with authority and ran the ball hard, led by Buhler on defense and freshmen Kevin Perez and Cameron Rock.

Perez finished with a team-high 29 yards rushing on nine carries, while both he and Rock had a number of positive kick returns. Freshman quarterback Thomas Mercogliano, who was heavily pressured most of the afternoon, completed four of his 21 pass attempts, and receivers Brett Hurt and Dalton Lamberth each caught one pass for 12 yards.

Anticipating a larger roster in the coming seasons — thanks in part to North Tahoe’s Pop Warner feeder program — the Lakers hope to rejoin the Division III and return to 11-man football in the future, Everist said. They played this season under independent status after being forced to cancel their 2014 campaign with insufficient numbers.

“Our players learned a lot this season and are already wanting to begin offseason conditioning,” Everist said. “The coaching staff is very proud of their play this season, and we anticipate future success.”