Douglas falls just short against Reed |

Douglas falls just short against Reed

Joey Crandall
Nevada Appeal News Service

SPARKS – If the Douglas football team never has to see another game decided on a late play at the goal line, that will be just fine with the Tigers.

Third-seeded Reed held on for a 20-18 win on its home field over the sixth-seeded Tigers Friday night. Reed stopped Douglas quarterback Zack Williams just short of the end zone on a two-point conversion attempt with 41.3 seconds left.

It was an eerie echo of last season’s playoffs when Douglas fell in overtime to McQueen after the Lancers’ Lucas Fejer snuck into the end zone with a second effort on fourth-and-inches.

The failed two-point conversion was the climactic moment of a wild finish that saw Douglas score as Reed was trying to run out the clock with a 20-12 lead.

The Raiders had intercepted the ball at their own 5-yard line with 1:40 left and tried a pair of runs from Jon Covello that went for a combined minus-1 yard. Douglas called a timeout with 53.1 seconds left setting Reed up for a third-and-11 from its own 4.

Raider Quarterback Brent Showalter dropped back into the end zone and flipped a pass into the flat for Beau Tittensor. Douglas safety Mat Metz, though, stepped in front of the pass and caught it for the automatic touchdown with 49.2 seconds left.

“We’ll take it,” Douglas coach Mike Rippee said. “We didn’t think they would do that, but they gave it a shot. Mat made a great play on it and it gave a shot to get back in the game.”

With the score set at 20-18, Douglas had to go for two points. The Tigers came out in an unorthodox formation with everyone except center Ben Reed, Williams and tailback Conner Peterson spread out to the wings.

The formation caused Reed to call a timeout and the Tigers came back with a standard goaline set.

Williams took the snap and broke right, where he was met at about the 1-yard line. He gave and extra push and got the momentum moving forward and he headed down for the turf. He managed an option pitch out to Peterson, who broke into the end zone but it was ruled that Williams’ knee had been down inches before the goal line before he could get the pitch away.

Douglas attempted an onside kick on the following play, and the ball squirted loose past Reed’s front line, but the Raiders were eventually able to recover it and run the clock out from there.

“We just fell short again,” Rippee said. “The kids played their hearts out, that’s how they were raised.

“I’m very proud of how they battled to stay in this game.”

The Tiger defense had done a stellar job containing one of the Northern 4A’s most potent offenses throughout the game, holding the Raiders to just one offensive touchdown, a pair of field goals and 247 yards of total offense

In the second half, Reed managed only 33 rushing yards and 47 passing yards on two completions.

Douglas intercepted Showalter twice and sacked him twice.

“I’m very proud of the defense,” Rippee said. “Once we settled in and pinned our ears back, the kids did a great job with them. We stood up and basically held them to a couple field goals. This time of year, that keeps you in the game.”

Williams led the Tiger offense completing 18 passes on 37 attempts for 234 yards and an 80-yard touchdown pass to Austin Neddenriep in the first quarter.

Reed managed to keep standout sophomore running back Conner Peterson wrapped up (15 carries for 31 yards and a touchdown) but Williams ran 12 times for 74 yards.

“The offense stepped up and Zack came out and really shined for us,” Rippee said. “He poured everything he had out on the field. He was the guy that kept us going.”

Reed marched down the field on its opening possession, going 87 yards on 10 plays before the Tiger defense stopped them at the 2-yard line. Reed settled for a 21-yard field goal and the early 3-0 lead.

Douglas went three-and-out on its following possession and on the punt, the snap was bobbled and the ball rolled into the end zone, where Reed fell on it for the 10-0 lead.

After Reed sent the next kickoff into the end zone, Williams floated a pass into the flat for Neddenriep, who broke what would’ve been a tackle for a short gain 80 yards for the touchdown.

The extra-point attempt bounced off the upright, leaving the score at 10-6 in favor of Reed.

After trading possessions with the Tigers, the Raiders opened the second quarter with a 27-yard touchdown run on a draw play by Covello.

Late in the second half, Douglas mounted an 11-play, 53-yard drive that ended with Peterson plunging two yards into the end zone, setting the score at 17-12.

Douglas went for two was stopped short.

“We felt like two would keep us within a field goal, because you just never know how a game is going to play out,” Rippee said. “We felt our defense could hold them, and it turns out they did.”

Neither team mustered much offense in the third quarter as Reed managed a 38-yard field goal after initially mustering a first-and-goal from the Douglas 9.

Douglas had a number of promising drives in the fourth, but none more so than when the Tigers set up at the Reed 42 with 3:19 left.

Williams double-pumped on the first play of the drive and found Neddenriep for a beautiful catch 34-yards down the field at the Raider 8-yard line. The play was called back on a holding penalty, though and Williams was intercepted five plays later at the Reed 5.

That set up Metz’ improbable touchdown, though.

“The kids battled back and gave us an opportunity to win,” Rippee said. “They just never quit. It’s a tough way to go out. But we could’ve hung our heads there when things didn’t go our way, and that just isn’t the way our kids our. They kept going until the end.”