SPARKS --The defending regional champion Reed High School football team walked away with a 47-14 over the Douglas Tigers in the first round of the playoffs on Friday night.
The first half, though, featured a fairly even battle for two strong football teams.
Unfortunately, the difference, as has been the case for much of the season for the Tigers, was a slow start and a number of untimely turnovers that Reed was able to capitalize on.
"We got in the red zone a couple times in the first half and we were unable to capitalize on those opportunities," Douglas coach Ernie Monfiletto said.
"The kids had some good stops and played great defense against a good offensive team in the first half, in both halves really. The defense came a long way tonight. The offense didn't help with a couple turnovers, but the kids played their hearts out and did all they could to be successful. Reed is just a better football team than we are. The kids fought to the end and we were grateful to be in this position of being able to play in the playoffs."
Reed took the opening kickoff and rumbled 91 yards on seven plays to open the scoring. Reed quarterback Mark Nowaczewski hit Devin Gray for an 8-yard pass to give the Raiders the early 7-0 lead.
Douglas, which boasted the most potent offense in Northern Nevada this season, appeared ready to match the Raiders punch-for-punch, ripping off gains on its first four plays during the following drive.
An errant snap, however, rolled right into Reed's clutches and Raider standout running back Ty Shepard raced into the end zone from 19 yards out two plays later. The point-after attempt failed, leaving Reed with a 13-0 lead.
The Raider defense came up with another stop and standout receiver Dusty Fisher injured his arm while diving for a pass on third down. He did not return to the game.
After the Douglas punt, the Tiger defense was able to force a fumble to get the ball back at the Raider 47-yard line on the next play.
Douglas was able to work the ball inside the Raider 30, driving 18 yards on eight plays. The drive stalled on the Reed 30 when a chop block on fourth-and-short negated what would have been a 5-yard gain by Conner Peterson for a first down.
The Douglas defense, though, came up with its second stop of the night, forcing a Reed three-and-out.
Douglas kept churning out the yardage on offense, switching regularly between its spread and inverted wishbone packages to keep the Raiders off balance.
The Tigers started their next drive on their own 15 and moved the ball 72 yards on 17 plays, milking more than six minutes off the clock before turning the ball over on downs on the Raider 13-yard line.
Michael Hoyt stopped Reed's next drive by recovering a Nowaczewski fumble at the Douglas 46. He returned it to the 50, where the Tiger offense embarked on another promising drive.
This time, Douglas moved 41 yards on nine plays, draining another four full minutes off the clock, before quarterback Michael Nolting's pass was intercepted in the end zone.
The Raiders moved quickly this time out, working their vertical passing game to drive 80 yards on just five plays, highlighted by passes of 49 and 40 yards - the latter going from Nowaczewski to Gray for a touchdown that stretched the lead to 19-0 with 1:55 left in the second quarter.
Nowaczewski finished the night with 16 completions for 291 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
Douglas turned the ball over on downs on the first possession of the second half and Reed again struck quickly, this time capping a three-play, 71-yard drive with a 61-yard touchdown run from Shepard that effectively put the game out of reach at 26-0. Shepard finished with 17 carries for 171 yards and two scores for the Raiders.
Douglas later got on the scoreboard with a 21-yard pass from Nolting to Conner Greth, who had three catches for 47 yards. Nolting completed 18 passes for 202 yards and three interceptions in his final game. He also later caught a five-yard touchdown pass from Wes Hundley.
Peterson also capped a brilliant career at Douglas by running for 164 yards on 30 carries. He caught five passes on the night for 50 yards. Hundley had seven catches for 88 yards. AJ Pfaffenberger caught two passes for 11 yards and Garet Rice had one catch for three yards.
Douglas finished the year 4-6 overall.