Douglas High's Cameron Swain (3) reacts to Trevor Kruger (8) crossing the goalline for the Tigers' first touchdown of the night against Reno Friday.
Photo by Ron Harpin.
For the 16 Douglas High seniors, Friday night served as a chance to truly reflect on what could have passed them by.
Friday’s contest with Reno was one final chance to play alongside their fellow teammates and friends.
It could have slipped away – any winter sports athletes could tell you that – but the Tigers took care of business and made the most of their Senior Night, defeating Reno 38-28.
“It’s amazing. We’ve put in a lot of work over the last four years, so it just means everything,” said Tiger senior lineman Ray Alvarez-Garcia postgame. “To get out here and take a dub (win) means everything.”
Second half swing
Douglas led by just one coming out of the half, 17-16.
After two special teams miscues essentially gave Reno 10 points before the half, the Tigers needed little motivation to get the ball moving in the final 24 minutes.
The first drive of the third quarter was hard-nosed, methodical and nearly textbook Douglas football.
Spanning almost half of the third quarter, the Tigers burned a ton of clock before Chris Smalley pounded the ball into the end zone.
With Douglas in front 24-16, Reno’s following possession lasted four plays as Gabe Foster snuffed out a screen play on second-and-10, leaving Reno with a third and long.
The Huskies went on to punt and Douglas responded by going 55 yards over seven plays before Smalley punched in his second touchdown of the evening.
The score pushed Douglas in front 31-16 and put the Huskies on the ropes.
Reno’s next drive wouldn’t have any more success as Tiger senior cornerback Wyatt Grisell quickly reacted to a tipped pass and pulled down an interception.
It was Grisell’s second interception of the night after stalling a first half drive with an anticipatory snag.
“Watching a lot of film, I knew the routes they liked to run,” said Grisell. “It was just such a great feeling.”
The senior almost returned his second pick of the night for six, but was called out of bounds at the eight-yard line.
Monfiletto called on Kruger to finish off the ensuing offensive series with a short touchdown run to put Douglas squarely in control, 38-16, with 11:57 left in the final quarter.
First half highlights
Right from the jump, the Tigers were on Reno.
Douglas won the toss and elected to stick its physical defense on the turf first, resulting in a Reno three-and-out.
The Tigers moved the ball 35 yards in three plays before Trevor Kruger took four consecutive hand-offs to gain the final 25 yards and put the first score on the board.
“I think our kids did a great job of picking up pressure,” said Monfiletto. “I thought Gris (Grisell) had a great night. Couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Kruger ended his senior night with two scores and a bulk of the Tigers’ yards on the ground.
Grisell wasn’t the only Tiger to step in front of a wayward pass as Foster returned an interception for a touchdown in the opening quarter to give Douglas a 14-0 lead.
“That play, we just rode it the rest of the way,” said Grisell. “We had momentum the whole game and it’s a great feeling.”
Defensively, Douglas had numerous sacks from its line as well as linebackers like Cameron Swain.
Sentimental senior class
For head coach Ernie Monfiletto, it’s a senior class that has helped keep him sane through some of the toughest times in anyone’s recent memory.
“They’ve made my life unbelievable. Those guys have stuck together with me,” said Monfiletto. “They’ve been great leaders from the first day of football until now and they’re loyal.”
UP NEXT: Douglas (2-2) makes the 20-minute trek north next Friday to take on its rival in Carson High (0-2).
“We’re going to beat Carson,” said Alvarez-Garcia.
“Oh, we’re going to win,” followed Grisell.
Damonte Ranch 61, Bishop Manogue 48
Reed 62, McQueen 30
North Valleys 19, Wooster 6
South Tahoe 46, Sparks 12