It's been a half-century, but the Douglas Tigers and Reno Huskies are getting together to play another championship football game. This time the Sierra League championship will be on the line when Reno hosts Douglas Thursday night in a Nevada Day weekend showdown.
The Tigers and Huskies bring identical 4-0 league records into the 7:30 p.m. contest at Foster Field. The defending league champion Huskies are 7-0 overall. Douglas, looking for the first large schools football championship in school history, is 6-1 with six straight wins since its 56-0 opening night loss to McQueen on Sept. 6.
This promises to be quite a game.
"No doubt about it," Douglas coach Mike Rippee said. "We're going to see a lot of talent on Thursday night, and you know what, we've got some of it, too.
"Way back last January, we talked about being in the position to win this division. That's one of our No. 1 goals," he continued. "I know it's easier said than done and some people thought I might be nuts because we haven't been up there the last few years, but these kids have worked hard to put themselves in position to win and we're excited about it."
These opportunities have been few and far between for Douglas football. The Tigers won their last championship in 1974 (6-0 win over Fallon in the 2A class). The Tigers missed two other opportunities to win 2A titles with regular season losses in 1976 (28-7 to Fallon) and 1978 (28-24 to Yerington) all before Nevada had an extensive playoff system in place.
Before that, you have to go back to 1951, when Reno and Douglas played for the right to take on Las Vegas High in the state final. Reno won that game, 20-7, before a crowd of 2,000 to 3,000 fans at the University of Nevada's Mackay Stadium.
The Tigers still have another big game on their schedule, a battle next Friday, Nov. 1, at home against arch rival Carson. However, a win over Reno would assure the Tigers of no worse than a co-championship and would clinch the Sierra League's No. 1 seed for the Northern 4A Regional playoffs.
"Big game. It's another step to the Sierra Division," said senior wide receiver/defensive back Craig Bell said. "We've got to step up if we want to beat Reno. We've been working all year and this is the last step right here. This is what we want."