MINDEN - Moving the ball presented no problem for the Douglas High School football team on Friday night. Getting the ball across the goal line was another matter, however, as the Tigers fell on the short end of a 14-0 victory in their season home opener against the opportunistic Elko Indians.
Douglas used an effective passing game to drive into Elko territory on its initial four possessions, and crossed midfield six times overall on the night, but none of that yardage translated into points against Elko's rubber band defense.
On the other hand, Elko's Joel Williams rushed for 182 yards and one touchdown to help the Indians improve their season record to 2-0. Douglas fell to 1-1.
The difference for Douglas in the game, at least according to coach Mike Rippee, could be seen by comparing the rushing and passing totals. Quarterback Jared Kenison went 18-for-36 for 271 yards in the passing department, with Gabe Hatchet catching 10 balls for 173 yards and Brady Ovard eight for another 64 yards. However, the Tigers only managed to rush for nine yards on 22 carries.
"You've need to establish the running game and we just weren't able to do that with any consistency tonight," Rippee said. "When it comes time to pick up them tough yards inside the 30, you've got to be able to run the ball.
"We made little mistakes that you can't make against a good team."
For example, Elko's defense came up with two interceptions and both were drive stoppers.
The first hurt of those interceptions in particular. Gabe Hatchet pulled in a 38-yard reception from Kenison to give the Tigers first-down at Elko's 43, but on the next play, Elko's Jake Sampley picked off a pass to end the first quarter.
As it turned out, that play led to Elko's first score. The Indians mounted an eight-play, 66-yard drive, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by Williams with 8:02 left in the second quarter.
Later in the second period, back-to-back passes to Jordan Ovard and Hatchet covered 29 and 21 yards respectively and gave Douglas first down at the Elko 26. But after two incompletions, a third-down pass was intercepted by Elko's Shawn Reilly to stop the threat.
The Indians added some insurance at the outset of the third quarter when they took the kickoff and drove 63 yards in nine plays for another score. This time, Kyle Eklund broke a second-and-14 misdirection play for a 29-yard touchdown run to give Elko its 14-0 lead with 7:38 remaining in the third period.
Douglas put together one last drive in the fourth quarter, but faltered at the 28 when Elko's Elliott Dutcher came up with a fourth down sack.
"I thought the effort by the kids tonight was great," Rippee said. "But like I said earlier in the week, if we made the same little mistakes we did out at Fallon (15-0 win last Thursday), we'd be the ones without any points on the board, and that's what happened. We just have to get better, that's all there is to it."