Douglas trumps Reno in lopsided win

You see something enough times, you're eventually going to get the hang of it.

The Douglas football team has struggled defending the spread offense in recent years (something to the tune a 454 yards per game against seven spread opponents in the last three seasons, including 577 last week against Las Vegas), especially against teams with mobile quarterbacks.

It would seem after Friday night's 20-6 win over Reno, though, that the Tigers are beginning to get the hang of it.

Douglas (1-1) held the Huskies (0-2), who implemented a spread offense during the offseason, to just 187 total yards and kept Reno's offense out of the end zone.

"We came in knowing that we had to step it up," Douglas middle linebacker Johnny Pollack said. "We didn't want to start out 0-2. We just wanted to get out there and hit them."

Things went so well defensively for the Tigers that Reno only managed eight first downs on the night (three of which came on a last-minute desperation drive) and didn't advance the ball any closer to the end zone than the Douglas 19-yard line.

"Defensively, we played with tremendous reckless abandon," Douglas coach Mike Rippee said. "When you run a spread, you know you are going to get your yards, there's no getting around it. We managed to shut their run down and kept in front of their passing game. That's big against this type of offense.

"People think all they do is throw, but when you shut the running game down, that gives the defensive backs a little more cushion to do their job. That's what happened tonight."

The Tigers held the Huskies to just 40 yards rushing on 22 carries and had eight tackles for a loss in the game. Ryen Ake and Will Dornbrook each picked off Reno quarterback Nick Bietz once and Cody Spates and Garrett Tenney each had a pair of sacks for the Tigers.

"We've seen it (the spread) enough, that's for sure," Rippee said. "We matched up pretty good with them. Our whole game plan was to keep in front of the ball and not give up the big play. Then, we just wanted to hold the ball on offense, and I think we were able to do that."

Indeed, Douglas ground out 264 rushing yards on 42 carries, splitting the workload between four ball carriers.

Johnny Pollack led the team with 117 yards on 17 carries, Ake had 62 yards on nine carries, Jordan Cruz had 46 yards on 10 carries and quarterback Zack Williams had six carries for 39 yards.

Williams completed 13 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns, both to receiver Danny King.

The only blip on the scoreboard for Reno came when Bietz picked off a Williams pass and returned it 83 yards for a touchdown.

"We played hard," Rippee said. "We have to get away from some of the silly things, we have to execute better and get more consistent, especially on first down. We moved the ball well at times, but we can't be in those second-and-long situations. We have to do better there."

The teams were scoreless through most of the first half before Nikolai Vasquez booted a 37-yard field goal with just under two minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Dornbrook picked off a pass at the Douglas 42 on Reno's next possesion, and Williams completed a 3-yard pass to Pollack and a 5-yard pass to Austin Neddenriep to move the Tigers to the Reno 45 with 31 seconds left.

Pollack broke free for 17 yards down the right sideline before being forced out and Williams found Neddenriep again for a 6-yard completion, moving Douglas to the 27 with 8.5 seconds left.

Williams lofted a nice ball which King got under in the end zone for the 27-yard touchdown with two seconds remaining on the clock, giving Douglas the 10-0 lead.

On its opening drive of the second half, Douglas drove to the Reno 25 on five plays before Vasquez kicked a career-long 43-yard field goal for the 13-0 lead.

Douglas had another promising drive start at the Reno 20 after Ake's interception, but Bietz came up with his interception score two plays later to cut the lead to 3-6.

Douglas answered right back with a four-play, 62-yard drive that culminated with Williams finding King in the end zone again for an 11-yard touchdown and the 20-6 lead.

Pollack had a 33-yard run to start the drive, setting Douglas up at the Reno 29.

Up next for Douglas is a date with McQueen in north Reno Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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