South Tahoe shuts out the Grizzlies
SOUTH TAHOE – Thank Goodness for a four-week preseason. That’s essentially what Galena High football coach Steve Struzyk told his team after being manhandled by South Tahoe Saturday afternoon.
“I’m happy the first four weeks are nonleague games,” Struzyk said after watching his team get blanked 36-0. “We can work out the kinks because there is a lot to work on. It’s a learning experience; all four (preseason) games have to be.”
It was a disastrous day on both sides of the ball for the Grizzlies. The smallish Galena defense gave up 415 yards, including 299 on the ground, as Kyle Jones rushed 14 times for 110 yards and a score. The Grizzlies’ offense struggled throughout the game, managing only 104 yards total offense, and South Tahoe forced five turnovers. Ryan Krueger accounted for nearly half the Grizzlies’ offense, carrying 11 times for 50 yards.
“The defense played great, as you can see by the shutout,” South Tahoe quarterback Mikey Van Gorden said. “They did what they needed to do.”
And, the Vikings’ offense appeared in midseason form, turning the ball over only one time on an interception. The one guy that caught Struzyk’s eye was Gorden, who went 7-for-16 passing for 116 yards, and also carried the ball 11 times for 89 yards and two scores (5 and 15 yards).
“He’s a stud quarterback,” Struzyk said of Van Gorden. “You saw how one player can take over a game, and their quarterback did that today. I thought we had some guys that could slow him down, but obviously I was wrong.”
Van Gorden looked comfortable, and he was certainly in command, completing big passes and making big runs. You can tell he’s matured greatly from a year ago and decision-making is a big part of that maturity.
“The line was blocking well and the receivers were catching the ball,” Van Gorden said. “Kyle (Jones) and Martin (Taylor) both did a great job.”
The Vikings need Jones and Taylor to fill the shoes left by all-Region selection Grant Swinney, and they are off to a great start.
“We played well,” South Tahoe coach Todd McIntyre said. “We had two unproven backs and we didn’t know what they could do. We ran the ball well, which surprised me. We were trying to throw to set up the run, but Galena did a good job defensing the pass, and that enabled us to run the ball. We controlled both lines.”
After Matt Bobman’s 46-yard field goal gave the Vikings a 3-0 lead with 4:13 left in the first quarter, the defense took control.
Two plays after the field goal, Ben Fry was hit in the backfield, and burly Oscar Moreno picked up the loose ball and rambled 21 yards for a score to make it 9-0.
Three plays later, Jordan Arnold threw an interception on the right seam, giving the Vikings excellent field position at the Grizzlies’ 43. Jones gained 23 on the first play, Van Gorden scrambled for 10 more, and Jones finished the drive with a 10-yard scoring run. Bobman’s PAT made it 16-0.
Galena responded with its best drive of the game. A 15-yard completion from Arnold to Cole Dowty and a 37-yard gain by Krueger gave Galena a first down at the South Tahoe 13. Two plays later, Haven Wilvers intercepted a pass at about the 3-yard line and brought it back out to the 9-yard line.
South Tahoe drove 95 yards on seven plays and two Galena penalties, as Van Gorden scored on a 5-yard keeper. Bobman’s kick made it 23-0 with 7:47 left in the half. Van Gorden was huge on the drive, completing two passes for 46 yards and carrying the ball three times for 19 yards.
Van Gorden guided the Vikings to paydirt on their next drive, scoring on a 15-yard scramble to increase the lead to 29-0. Lights out. Party over.