Douglas football to take on Reed

Reed High School has been a staple of the Douglas football team's non-league schedule for quite some time.

That won't change this season as the two schools will meet up in Sparks at 7 p.m. tonight for the final game before the league season starts.

The matchup has annually pitted the Raiders' potent aerial attack against the Tigers' grind-it-out run game.

The advantage has more often gone to Reed in a big way, save for a 14-7 Tiger win in Minden in 2005.

In the other matchups, Reed has taken 41-21, 21-0, 38-15 and 43-6 victories.

In fact, the only time Douglas has come away with a blowout win, was in 2003 which was also the last time the Tigers brought in such a balanced offense.

That's what makes tonight's game so interesting.

Reed is 2-1 on the year with big wins over Canyon Springs (Las Vegas) and Carson and a 26-14 loss to Bishop Manogue.

First-year quarterback Tyler Pine (6-0, 170) has settled into the Raider offense well, throwing for 372 yards and five touchdowns against Carson last week.

Reed has a number of solid returning receivers, including Casey Yocum and Roman Kea, who were a part of a pair of 205- and 324-yard aerial assaults on the Tigers last season.

Douglas, which is 1-1 after a 41-35 loss to Las Vegas and a 23-6 win over Reno, has a pair of bruising junior running backs, Johnny Pollack and Jordan Cruz, to lead their running game.

After sputtering for just 73 yards against Las Vegas in the season-opener, the running game seemed to find its stride against the Huskies.

The duo tore into Reno's physical defense two weeks ago for a combined 191 yards.

The big difference this year has been the Tigers' passing game, which has opened up the team's offensive playbook considerably.

Senior quarterback Tim Rudnick threw for a school record 352 yards against Las Vegas, which boasted one of the top defensive backfields in the state, and extended his season total to 555 and five touchdowns against Reno.

The emergence of senior receiver James McLaughlin (13 catches, 168 yards and three touchdowns) has opened things up for speedy Zach McFadden (14 catches, 260 yards and a touchdown).

If a team finds a way to cover both, third-option Connor Dillon (six catches, 87 yards, one touchdown) has given opposing coaches headaches early in the season.

The big keys to tonight's game will be Douglas' ability to balance its offense (if the passing game is clicking, the running backs could be in for huge nights " and vice versa), and the Tiger defense's ability to adapt to the spread.

The Raiders run a similar offense to what Las Vegas ran in the opener, and while the Wildcats racked up 473 yards, Douglas shut them out in the first and fourth quarters. On top of that, two of Las Vegas' touchdowns were scored by the defense.

Douglas has unveiled a number of four-back defensive sets, which has helped adapt to the pass. Davey Fisher has two interceptions in as many games to lead the Tiger defensive backs.

The story of the night may end up being which offense has the ball last. The team that is best able to capitalize on special teams and minimize the overall miscues will have the advantage in that battle.

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