SOUTH LAKE TAHOE - On a day when its high-octane offense sputtered, the defense came through for the South Tahoe High School football team in the opening round of the Northern 4A playoffs on Saturday afternoon.
The result was a 32-5 victory for the Vikings to spoil Galena football's first-ever postseason appearance.
Immanuel Williams ran for one touchdown and caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Jarred Uppendahl while Jake Hurwitz rushed for 119 yards and one touchdowns as the Vikings improved their season record to 8-2 and advanced into the Northern 4A semifinals and a showdown against undefeated McQueen this coming Friday night in Reno.
South Tahoe coach Tim Jaureguito was talking about the Vikings' defense after a game that was played on muddy turf and saw the teams combine for three safeties.
"One of the things always preach is that defense wins championships and those kids stepped it up today," Jaureguito said. "They were the difference today because our offense didn't play well."
The Grizzlies (3-7), who had 21 sophomores and 21 juniors in uniform for the game, got on the scoreboard first when Mike Sharenbrock kicked a 34-yard field goal. Galena fumbled three times during the drive and recovered all three and was further aided by a roughing the kicker penalty. Luke Penrose also had a 12-yard run and quarterback Jared Cartinella had a 12-yard run during the drive.
South Tahoe answered on its next possession when Williams scored on a 23-yard reverse. Hurwitz scored on a 6-yard run in the second quarter and Uppendahl threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Ryan Hickey in the second period.
South Tahoe's Wayne Lucero stopped a Galena threat shortly before halftime with an interception at the 2, but the Grizzlies picked up a safety moments later when Uppendahl was flagged for intentional grounding from his own end zone.
Galena gave up safeties on back-to-back possessions in the third and fourth periods as South Tahoe extended its lead to 25-5. The Vikings scored again in the fourth quarter when Uppendahl hit Williams on a curl pattern for a 33-yard touchdown play.
Cartinella completed 10 of 19 passes for 57 yards and Penrose rushed for 68 yards on 10 carries.