North Tahoe maintaining early season momentum
All of the North Tahoe High School athletic teams are off to a successful start for the 2000 fall sports season.
The varsity football team avenged its one-point opening game loss to Quincy two weeks ago at home by defeating a solid Spring Creek team 23-22 in Spring Creek Sept. 8. After senior captain Bryan Collins returned the opening 95-yard kickoff for a touchdown, the Lakers may have become a little too comfortable. North Tahoe took a 9-7 going into halftime, but Spring Creek turned around and returned the Lakers second-half kickoff 55 yards for a chance meeting with the end zone of its own. Later in the third quarter Bryan Collins tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kyle O’Neal off a fake field goal attempt on a fourth-and-goal situation from the 5-yard line. The Spartans scored twice more and North Tahoe got the ball back with about six minutes left in the game and down by seven points.
“It was quite a barn burner,” said head coach Bill Freeman. “My blood pressure can’t take it. They played a little better than we did, but we played well at the right time.”
Starting at its own 15-yard line, North Tahoe, behind several right sweeps by workhouse halfback Collins and a clutch catch by tight end Justin Dale on a third-and-eight play, managed to drive 83 yards before being faced with a fourth-and-two situation with 2:32 left in the game. Collins swept right once again, plunging into the end zone. Never one to kiss his sister, he said, Freeman elected to go for two points and the win instead of kicking a game-tying PAT. Collins again swept right, barely crossing the goal line and pushing the Lakers ahead.
But the excitement was nowhere near over. The Spartans returned the ensuing kickoff 44 yards to the North Tahoe 41-yard line. With 1:03 remaining, the Lakers were trying to keep Spring Creek from driving deeper into its territory while facing a first down scenario and the Spartans on the Lakers 27-yard line. Three plays later, on a fourth-and-eight play with 55 seconds to go, Spring Creek’s quarterback rolled outside to his right, as Laker coaches had predicted. Chris Clem was prepared for this and sacked the quarterback for a loss and sealed the Lakers victory. The Lakers play again at North Tahoe against Dayton High School on Saturday.
The Laker’s boys varsity soccer team continued its impressive season start with two victories over the weekend. On Friday, the team traveled to Lovelock bringing home a 7-1 victory. According to first-year coach, Bert Alcaraz, this game was an eye-opener for the team. Alcaraz felt the Lakers had a slow start in the first half and were discouraged by the goal Lovelock scored on them.
However, the Lakers returned to their home field on Saturday with increased determination and beat the Yerington Lions 11-1. Strong defensive plays by NTHS thwarted most of Yerington’s offensive efforts allowing quick turnover in the Lakers’ favor. Goalkeepers Justin Atchley and Ken Baptista shared goal duties and had a solid game with several saves between them. Yerington scored early in the first half but were unable to complete any further goal attempts.
The Lakers’ offense was equally as successful, scoring five goals in the first half and six in the second. Major contributors to NTHS’s offensive stability were Mario Cervantes with six goals on 10 shots and Will Wolford with four out of 11 shots.
Coach Alcaraz attributed this weekend’s victories to, “simple, but effective soccer.” With the loss of eight starting players, the Lakers are struggling to live up to the 20-2 record from last year. If the team continues to play as effectively as it did over the weekend, Coach Alcaraz is confident it will continue its success. However, the real challenge will be in facing off against the reigning NIAA/U.S. Bank Division IIIA State Champion’s Tahoe-Truckee High School Wolverines. The Lakers take on the Wolverines at the Tahoe-Truckee campus on Friday, Oct. 6, at 5 p.m.
The boys aren’t the only ones experiencing excellent results early in the season. Girls’ varsity coach Gary Dietz has a deep and capable team as well. The girls have yet to lose a match themselves, and in fact maintain a spotless record as of press time.In recent games, the Lakers have defeated Quincy 4-1, Pershing County 14-0 and Yerington 12-0. Laurel Shanley has shown superb play in the net as have April Rios as the defensive general and Tracie Prado as the team’s playmaker. Prado’s ability to control the tempo continues to be one of the many shining points for the team, as has the play of Brittney Bent, Jessica Davis and others in the attacking third.
With 14 full teams and stiff competition, the North Tahoe Lakers fared well at their annual invitational last Friday in Tahoe City. The boys took fourth place behind Pepe Ramirez’s superb second-place finish and the girls third at the Kiwanis North Tahoe Laker Invitational.
Ramirez, a sophomore, broke the North Tahoe record for the course, shaving a minute off G.O. Parsons’ previous record with a time of 18:10.
Coach Warren Mills was excited about Ramirez and his two teams’ finish.
“Consider how good G.O. was and Pepe’s a minute ahead of him. That’s pretty good and he’s only a sophomore,” Mills said. “Overall, we did great. Lowry was a surprise on both sides, dropping down from 4A, but that’s just the way it is.”
Defending state champion Heather Sandeman of North Tahoe finished fifth overall, followed by Truckee’s Betsy Van Blarigan. Sandeman was momentarily set back on the course’s main uphill, stopping due to illness. Mills was concerned about this, but also said it indicated how hard his star runner was working.
Tory Ewing finished in ninth place for the girls, while recording the second best North Tahoe time ever for the course.
“We’re still getting in shape, but we’re running hard,” Mills said. “I’m happy with the outcome, but a little shocked at how strong Lowry was. I’m pretty excited where we’re at. In one week we’ve really picked up an idea of what has to happen. Things are looking better than they were two weeks ago. Our invitation really sparks our kids.”
The North Tahoe girls’ golf team played host last Friday with match play at the Tahoe City Golf Course. The Lakers took second place behind Lowry with a score of 501 behind Tiana Jones round of 92. Lowry, which moved down from 4A play this season, dominated with a score of 466. The Lakers travel to Winnemucca today to play at Lowry.
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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.