Desperation meets insecurity in a crucial Northern Nevada League 4A Division II football game Friday at 7 p.m. in Carson City.
Desperate aptly describes the predicament of the Carson Senators, 1-3 in Division II, considering they must win their final two division games to have any chance for the postseason.
Insecure refers to the uneasy feeling South Tahoe (5-2 overall, including 3-2 in Division II) has about its playoff position. A win could propel South Tahoe to second place and a first-round home playoff game, but defeat could knock the Vikings out of the playoffs altogether. Either way, the Vikings will have to sit and wait an extra week since they will be the first team to conclude division play.
"Everything is so up in the air because it's so tight. I really haven't looked at the playoff possibilities," said Viking coach Tim Jaureguito. "After this game we'll take a look at it."
Carson coach Bob Bateman's position is a little more cut-and-dry.
"We obviously have to keep winning to have a shot at making the playoffs," said Bateman, whose Senators gave defending zone runner-up Reed everything it wanted in a 27-20 loss last Friday. "South Tahoe is in a battle for second place, and rightly so, they are a very good football team."
South Tahoe is coming off perhaps its finest game to date - a 53-0 pummeling of Fallon last Saturday.
"That's the best we've played all year long," Jaureguito said. "In terms of execution we were near perfect. We had a game where we were firing on all cylinders on special teams, offense and defense."
If playoff positioning doesn't get the Vikings' attention, maybe they can reflect on the 53-7 drubbing Carson whipped up last September in Carson City.
"Last year was pretty much a bad game. We're looking forward to getting a chance at them again," said Viking junior running back Jake Hurwitz, who leads the league with 1,009 rushing yards. "It's probably the biggest game we've had this season, and we've had a lot of them. If we lose, there is a chance we won't go to the playoffs, so we pretty much need to win this game."
David Krueger, who has since graduated, burned the Vikings for 110 yards rushing and three touchdowns as the Senators streaked to a 35-0 halftime lead.
"We don't dwell on the past," Jaureguito said. "Our concern is to go out and play a tough Carson team."
Bateman also prefers not to recall last year's licking.
"I know Tim really well, and we've never run up the score. If you asked 95 percent of our kids what the score was last year, they wouldn't know it. They may know who won, but very few played in that game."
Bateman has been in attendance the past two South Tahoe games with Wooster and Fallon and came away impressed with his opponent's physicalness and offensive diversity.
"We've got our hands full," Bateman said. "They were literally a play or two away from beating Wooster. South Tahoe had an opportunity to fold and they fought back.
"This year, they are more diverse offensively than ever; you can't load up on one of them. Their special teams are executing very well and they are extremely physical team."
Viking Note: Matt George broke Gary Clelan's season interception record with his fifth pick against Fallon on Oct. 9.
"We line him up on the opponent's best receiver," Jaureguito said. "If we need to take someone out of the game offensively, that's how we do it.
"He's having an outstanding year, but we expected nothing less after last year."
George was voted second-team all-division last season by Division II's seven coaches. Besides his five picks, George has scored one touchdown and secured two Viking wins with blocked field goals.