Douglas impressive in win over Reno

Somewhere late in the second quarter, something clicked for the Douglas High football team.

With a little more than three minutes remaining in the first half Douglas had only put together 54 yards of total offense and hadn't brought the ball across midfield.

Reno, on the other hand had driven deep inside Tiger territory on each of its drives while piling up 149 yards of total offense and a 6-0 lead.

And then everything changed.

Douglas took advantage of a missed field goal by the Huskies and got quick strikes from quarterback Tim Rudnick to Connor Dillon, James McLaughlin and Zach McFadden, moving the ball the the Reno 37.

Two plays later Rudnick lofted a perfect pass down the sideline to a heavily-covered McLaughlin. McLaughlin made a nice over-the-shoulder catch and an even nicer side-step to stay inbounds before cutting back into the end zone for a 33-yard score.

It turned out to be the turning point of the game as Douglas took a 23-6 win in Reno Friday night while rolling up 406 yards of total offense and holding Reno to just 73 yards in the second half.

"I didn't see the ball coming until it was almost at the defender's head," McLaughlin said of the touchdown catch, his first of two on the night. "I was running and I looked just in time to see it coming down. I had the height advantage and just tried to keep the play going."

The momentum actually started to turn on Reno's previous drive. The Huskies had run 11 of their previous 13 plays from scrimmage for gains before calling a timeout on a second-and-8 at the Tiger 21.

Reno came out of the timeout, promptly threw two incomplete passes and missed a 35-yard field goal attempt, setting up Douglas' touchdown drive.

The Tiger defense came out after the touchdown looking like an entirely different unit. They forced their first three-and-out of the game and got the ball with about 50 seconds left on the clock.

"I knew early on that Reno was going to run it at us, but we just have to get to three-and-out faster than that. They started stepping up and getting after it, they played the game right and took away the running game," Douglas coach Mike Rippee said.

"Eventually I felt like our conditioning paid off."

Rudnick threw a 38-yard strike to Dillon moving the ball to the Reno 7, but a blocking in the back penalty pushed the ball back to the 27. Rudnick hit Dillon again, this time for 17 yards and Nikolai Vasquez nailed a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the half for the 10-6 lead.

In the second half, Douglas' pair of junior running backs started to find their respective strides.

Jordan Cruz and Johnny Pollack combined to carry the ball 11 times on a 72-yard drive that culminated in Rudnick lofting a pass to the back corner of the end zone to McLaughlin.

McLaughlin drew a pass interference penalty on the defender draped all over him but still managed to break away and make a diving catch on the play.

"Timmy threw a good ball," McLaughlin said. "I just laid out and went for it and it worked out OK."

On Douglas' final scoring drive, which came in the fourth quarter, Cruz and Pollack carried the ball nine times on the 32-yard drive before Cruz punched it in from a yard out.

Pollack ran for 118 yards on the night and Cruz ran for 73.

"We have to be able to run the football effectively," Rippee said. "Everyone on the team knows it. Our strength is our quarterback and we have some great receivers, but if you aren't on with your passing game, the other team can stick around.

"We need to be able to run, to run the clock a bit when we need to, so we'll be working on that these next few weeks."

Rudnick finished the game with 203 yards on 15 completions and two touchdowns. McLaughlin was his top target with seven catches for 82 yards while McFadden had three catches for 47 yards and Dillon had three catches for 62 yards.

Defensively, Garrett Tenney and Pollack combined for a sack, Davey Fisher picked off his second pass of the year and Robby O'Dell came up with a big tackle for a loss on a fourth down in the third quarter.

Reno was led by Cruise McClure with 15 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown.

Douglas gets a bye week next week and will travel to Reed on Sept. 19.

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