Douglas & Galena scrimmage

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RENO -- Come November, the Douglas Tigers and Galena Grizzlies could very well face each other in the Northern 4A football playoffs. Saturday morning, however, coaches Mike Rippee of Douglas and Greg Sakelaris of Galena were merely satisfied to get in some practice time together when they met during a preseason scrimmage at Galena High School.

"You know, this was a good practice for us," Sakelaris said. "I think we have a lot of room to improve and that's what we need to do. Everybody needs to get better and I think everybody has something to work on come Monday."

Rippee echoed those sentiments after the Tigers and Grizzlies joined South Tahoe for the three-team scrimmage.

"We've got a long ways to go," Rippee said. "The main thing about today, we got to see everybody and we had no injuries. Now we're going to break down the film, see what adjustments we need to make and go from here.

No score or stats were kept during the controlled scrimmage, which gave coaching staffs a chance to evaluate their squads before the start of the regular season. The Tigers will have another scrimmage Friday night at Reed High in Sparks before they kick off the season on Aug. 6 at home in Minden against defending Northern 4A champion McQueen. Galena opens Sept. 7 at Wooster.

While Galena and Douglas were both playoff qualifiers in 2001, of course, this is a brand new season.

"Overall, I was happy, especially for our young guys on the offensive line. We have a lot of juniors and it was good for them to get to go against two quality teams," Rippee said. "Galena has a veteran group and they get off the ball real well. They beat us up a couple of times up front, so this was an eye opener for our guys. The varsity is a lot different from the J.V. level and we learned today we have to play at a different speed.

The Grizzlies are coming off their most successful season ever, a 7-4 overall record and trip to the semifinals of the Northern 4A playoffs before absorbing a 23-3 loss to Elko. Some of the mainstays from that team have graduated, including running back/defensive back Luke Penrose (now at Navy), Vann Adams and twin linemen Phil and Pat Blair. They do have some experience back, especially at linebacker, where Matt Fry, Barrett Young and Tre Rager return as starters.

Douglas was 4-6 last year and advanced to the playoffs before losing to Elko 45-22 in the first round. Junior quarterback Luke Rippee and senior nose guard Grant Hall are returning first-team all-league players (Hall was held out of the scrimmage with a groin injury).

"Douglas is going to be a real good football team," Sakelaris said. "And South Tahoe's going to surprise some people, too."

It is a long season, after all.

"We hope to be playing into November and I think that Galena team is going to be there, too," Rippee said. "We've got a long ways to go before we get to the playoffs, but somewhere down the road, it would be nice if we get to see that defense again and hopefully we will have picked up our speed."


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