A classic confrontation between two contrasting styles never materialized when the Douglas High and Reed football teams opened the season way back in August.
That's because the Tigers made some early costly mistakes that allowed the Raiders to take a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. Douglas was taken out of its game and never recovered as Reed went on to a 38-15 win.
Douglas (8-2) obviously hopes the rematch is a different story when the Tigers (7-2) host Reed at 7 p.m. today at Keith Roman Field in the first round of the Northern 4A playoffs. If the Tigers can avoid the mistakes this time, tonight's game promises to be a battle between Douglas High's smashmouth running attack against Reed's wide open attack.
"It's old-fashioned football against modern football, although they do run the ball well," Douglas coach Mike Rippee said.
The key will be which team will not be one-dimensional. Reed will look to spread the Tigers out, but if the Raiders are unable to run, it will be harder to keep Douglas off balance. But in the same token, if the Tigers are unable to pass to support the run, they will likely struggle.
"You have to throw the football," Rippee said. "You can't be one-dimensional and expect to win football games. We have a game plan and hopefully it works out."
Douglas also knows it can't fall too far behind early like the first meeting. "It got us out of what we like to do," said Rippee about the early deficit in the first game.
"We've got to get away from the mistakes. I'm not going to say we're going to be perfect. It's going to be a tight game if we do what I think we can do. We have to control the ball more."
While Douglas looks to have a more balanced attack there's no denying they will depend heavily on running back Brock Peterson, who ran for 372 yards last week in a 48-20 win over Carson. "Brock will get his carries there's no doubt about it," Rippee said.
But quarterback Tim Rudnick will also need to have a solid game. "He's improved weekly," Rippee said. "He's showed a lot of poise and made big plays for us."
Reed has plenty of weapons, beginning with quarterback Zack Parker. He has two outstanding targets in Cory Whitaker and Tyler Olivero.
In last week's 45-23 win over Spanish Springs which clinched a playoff spot for the Raiders, Whitaker scored four touchdowns, three on receptions and one on a punt return while Olivero had eight catches for 133 yards. There's also dangerous running back Larry Cooper.
"They're explosive," Rippee said. "We've got to take away the big play. They've got great team speed. (They're) a lot faster than we are."
Even though Reed won the season opener at Douglas, Rippee is glad to be home. "You play to get that home playoff game," Rippee said.
"They've gotten better and we hope we have to. They're a good football team and they've proved it all year long. We've got our hands full."