Douglas High senior captain Brady Dufloth comes around the left edge and blocks a Bishop Manogue field goal attempt Friday night. It's the second kick the Tigers' special teams has blocked in as many games so far this season.
RENO – Douglas High football knew going into Friday night it was going to get all it could handle from Northern Nevada’s defending regional crown winners in Bishop Manogue.
The Tigers shut out the Miners in the second half, but fell 35-15 after a tough first half.
By no means did Douglas head coach Ernie Monfiletto consider the 20-point defeat a step backward. In fact, the second half effort from the Tigers inspired the long-time head coach.
“I think the kids are geared up to go get Damonte Ranch (next week),” said Monfiletto. “They believe they are better than what they showed tonight.”
Quick reversal of fortune
The Miners didn’t intimidate the Tigers Friday night.
After Bishop Manogue marched down the field for a seven-play touchdown drive to open the game, Douglas responded in kind.
Christopher Smalley snatched the ensuing kickoff and took it down to the Miners’ 35-yard line, giving Douglas great field position for its opening drive.
After five straight running plays, Aden Flory dropped back and lofted a dime to wideout Cameron Swain, who tapped his toes in the back corner of the end zone for an acrobatic catch as he fell out of bounds.
It brought the Tigers within one, 7-6, after a missed extra point.
Bishop Manogue scored on its next drive to go up 14-6, but the Tigers remained within a score as the second quarter began.
Two plays into the Tigers’ next drive, the Miners grabbed a takeaway off a fumble.
Manogue threatened to score, but the Douglas defense forced the Miners to settle for a field goal attempt, which was blocked by Douglas senior Brady Dufloth.
Branden Wright scooped up the bouncing ball and was able to give the Tigers possession at the 40 after the Dufloth block.
However, the Tigers offense was halted on its next series on fourth down and Manogue quarterback Drew Scolari, a Nevada commit, tossed a 42-yard strike to Cort Ballinger who walked into the end zone.
After Douglas went three-and-out on its next series, Ballinger made the Tigers pay again.
The 5-10 senior grabbed a bouncing ball off a Tiger punt and cut his way across the field for a 66-yard touchdown return to give Bishop Manogue a 28-6 lead with 5:39 left in the opening half.
The next four plays went like the previous four, as Douglas punted and Ballinger once again found pay dirt on a 66-yard return, moving the Miners in front 35-6 prior to halftime.
“I’m sick to my stomach over the punt returns,” said Monfiletto postgame. “We have flashes of brilliance on special teams and then we make errors. That’s on me. That’s my responsibility and I’m going to fix it.”
The special teams miscues didn’t detract from the Tiger defense still making an impression on the Manogue coaching staff.
“We knew we needed to be physical,” said Miner head coach Ernie Howren. “That front seven is so physical and we didn’t match that, which is why we struggled in the running game.”
In the second half, the Tigers kept Bishop Manogue off the scoreboard.
Smalley punched in a rushing touchdown and Douglas recorded a safety in the final minutes before the buzzer sounded.
UP NEXT: Douglas (1-1) will hit the road again next week, traveling to take on Damonte Ranch (2-0).
“I think they’re right up there. Douglas has all of the components that you would want to be a successful championship team,” said Howren. “A very good receiving core, really good running backs, the lines are really physical. Obviously, you have a special player in Smalley. It makes for a really good combination for a successful team.”
Other area scores
Reed 43, Carson 7
McQueen 26, Spanish Springs 20
Damonte Ranch 40, Galena 0
North Valleys 40, Hug 0
Reno 49, Sparks 12