One of the things that makes any away game hard is the travel. For most Wasatch Front schools travel to a league opponents field of play is a short drive of less than a few miles.
But when a school competes in the Utah 1A high school ranks it can be a trip that takes an eternity. That is the way the games that East Carbon plays with schools such as Dugway and Wendover seem. But another school they play is even in a category beyond that; West Desert.
Located in Trout Creek, teams must take a ride through Delta and then up a very long dirt road. It is a trip which makes many teams anxious. Besides that, the Hawks often have a good team to contend with, which was the case last week when the Vikings went to the western Utah town to play a league game. The Hawks used that strong home court advantage to beat up on East Carbon 52-36.
"People don't realize what the travel to these schools does to these kids," stated head coach Steve Gutierrez on Wednesday morning. "They are tired before they get there."
West Desert jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter, largely with their defense holding the Vikings to four points. The Hawks scored 14 in the quarter.
In the second period the Vikings were able to shake off West Deserts speed a little and performed better throwing in nine, but the Hawk offense still produced 13 points making the halftime score 27-13.
After the half East Carbon came out much stronger, but just couldn't keep up with the Hawks scoring as they fell behind by another eight points.
In the fourth period the Vikings finally were able to out do the kids from Trout Creek to the tune of 14-8, but it was too little too late.
"I was very disappointed in this game," said Gutierrez. "We couldn't hit a shot."
Tony McFarland led the Vikings with 10 points while Pat Hansen had nine in the game.
Two nights later the team went west again; this time to Eureka to play Tintic High. In this game the Vikings played well but some other factors affected the game with the Miners taking a 47-41 win.
"We played this one tough," said Gutierrez. "We were out rebounding them and playing well, but some things happened and we let it get out of control and they took over."
The game began slow as both teams struggled from the field. Tintic was able to out score the Vikings 9-5 in the first period.
The second period brought more scoring for both teams as the Miners put through 17 and the Vikes battled in 15 points.
After the half both teams struggled in the third period as the Vikings edged the Miners 12-11 in the quarter. It was a good trend for the East Carbon kids though and they went into the fourth period behind, but confident they could catch up.
The momentum they gained from the third period however did not carry through to the fourth as the Miners were able to hold on for the victory.
"We only had three people score in this game," stated Gutierrez. "We need some of the younger players to step up and score if we are going to win."
These were East Carbons first league games which made them 0-2 in Region 18. The teams next game will be against Dugway on Friday night at the Mustang's gym. Next week the Vikings are at home on Wednesday night against Meridian from Provo.