SOUTH LAKE TAHOE - A football season couldn't have started any sweeter than it did for Galena High on Saturday.
The Grizzlies' Ryan Krueger returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown as Galena rolled to a 41-0 Northern 4A nonleague victory over South Tahoe in Viking Bowl.
"When you start out the game by returning the kick for a touchdown, that kind of sets the tone for you," said Galena coach Steve Struzyk.
Krueger scored three of the Grizzlies' six touchdowns and finished with 235 yards of total offense. Galena's defense did the rest, holding the Vikings to minus 55 yards of total offense.
"After our last two trips here - we got blanked one year and last year they pretty much owned us - this was a little payback," Struzyk said. "Our goal was to get a quick start this year, so this was huge for us."
South Tahoe hurt its chances of winning Nick Samaras' head coaching debut by struggling on special teams. Only once did the Vikings make a decent snap to punters Chris Diana and Mark Dalmacio. Injuries to long snappers Max Meeker (left knee) and Buck Pershing (hip) left the Vikings with a third-stringer snapping in the second half.
"It hurt, but that didn't hurt as much as we didn't move our feet on the offensive line and didn't get after people," Samaras said.
Krueger also rushed 40 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, then capped his 132-yard rushing effort with a 5-yard TD run with 3 minutes, 21 seconds left in the third period.
Galena's other touchdowns came on a 8-yard run by quarterback Jacob Anderson, a 12-yard run by Jimmy Sargent and a 2-yard reception by Christian Pavik.
Adam Regala and Casey Ernst led the Grizzlies' stout defense. Regala gathered in a fumble caused by a blind-side quarterback sack by David Demeritt and returned the turnover to the Vikings' 19
"The end zone, that's all I could see in my head, but it went so fast," said Regala, who also recorded a quarterback sack. "We played a great game. We played with our hearts and finished all four quarters."
Ernst led the Grizzlies with a pair of sacks.