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Douglas football rolls past South Tahoe

Joey Crandall
Nevada Appeal News Service

MINDEN ” The Douglas High football team had Thursday night circled on its calendar from the beginning of the year.

The Tigers knew they’d be coming off a Saturday game against a tough Manogue program and that they’d have just three days of practice before hosting South Tahoe.

As it turned out, the short turn-around was just what the team needed.

Douglas put the 47-13 drubbing at the hands of Manogue in the past with a 48-6 romp over South Tahoe Thursday night.

“I think it was actually nice to have a two-day week,” Douglas coach Mike Rippee said. “It was hard to let last Saturday go. I didn’t want them to forget how it felt, but the only way to get over something like that is to come out and get back into hitting.

“We needed to come out and play with some passion. They did that. We went hard for two days, we almost thought about going full-contact on the third day. The kids really responded well.”

Douglas got junior running back Jordan Cruz back after he missed the past two games with a shoulder injury and he rolled up 139 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries for Douglas.

“Having Cruz back made a difference,” Rippee said. “He is a quality back and it’s something I keep saying but we have that running game going for our offense to work.”

Cruz said it took a little while to shake the rust off, but that the offensive line of Nick Mortenson, Garrett Tenney, Danny Bloom, Parker Robertson and Sam Barragan made it easier on him.

“It felt good to be back,” Cruz said. “I was having a little trouble in the first quarter, but the line picked me up. I just had to start making my cuts.”

Douglas quarterback Tim Rudnick broke the school’s single-season passing yardage and touchdown records in the game as his 207 yards and two touchdown passes pushed him to 2,108 yards and 19 touchdowns on the year.

The Tiger defense responded to one of its worst performances of the season with one of its best, allowing 213 yards of total offense, 122 of which came on the ground.

“We challenged the seniors,” Rippee said. “We said they’re down at the end of it here and they needed to decide how they wanted to finish things out. We put it on them to respond and they came in and did a good job of leading this team.”

Douglas opened up a 14-0 lead on a three-yard plunge from Cruz and an 18-yard draw from Barron Santiago in the first half, but a flurry in the final minute before halftime quickly changed the complexion of the game.

Running their hurry-up offense, the Tigers drove 62 yards in seven plays and Rudnick hit sophomore Austin Neddenriep on a 20-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 21-0 with 30 seconds left in the half.

South Tahoe bobbled the ensuing kickoff and Douglas’ Nico Barker dove on the football at the Viking 28.

Rudnick then hit Cruz on a simple screen and Cruz bolted 28 yards for the score, giving Douglas two touchdowns within a seven-second span heading into the locker rooms.

“Any time you can go into halftime on such a high, it’s a plus,” Rippee said. “Our kids were in there smiling, it pumped a lot of energy into us. We were real upbeat in the locker room. When you are out there making plays and playing well, you deserve to smile a little bit.”

After Cruz scored on a five-yard run to open the second half, South Tahoe scored on a two-yard pass from Willy Ervin to Chris Klug to cut the score to 34-6.

Ervin finished with 91 yards passing and Klug had 15 yards rushing and 64 yards receiving. Tyler Lastiri led the Vikings with 98 yards on the ground.

Cruz scored once more on a 24-yard run and Luis Pina-Duarte returned an interception 45 yards for a score, marking the second time he’s done so this season.

Neddenriep, who was called up from the Douglas junior varsity squad three weeks ago, caught five passes for 81 yards while Eric Guzman had two catches for 45 yards and Danny King had two catches for 28 yards.

Defensively, Jesse Cruz had an interception late in the game and Robbie O’Dell and Garrett Tenney had a host of tackles on the defensive line for Douglas.