Douglas football to face McQueen
The bad news?
Douglas’ football team must travel to Reno tonight to take on the McQueen Lancers, ranked first in the Sierra Nevada Sports Media Poll all season, in the opening round of the playoffs.
In the third week of the season, McQueen steamrolled the Tigers.
The good news?
It’s the playoffs and anything can happen.
Douglas managed just 152 yards total offense in the first go around, 106 coming on the ground, as McQueen’s staunch defense put on a show while scoring two touchdowns and recording a safety.
The Lancers’ defense, however, will be looking at an almost entirely different offensive unit across the line of scrimmage Friday night.
Since the Tigers suspended 13 players two weeks ago for violations of school and team policy, several players have stepped up to provide some solid offensive numbers. In fact, only two players who actually touched the ball in the first game against McQueen were among those not suspended.
In the last two weeks, Julius Bailey has emerged as the Tigers’ feature back, rushing for 325 yards and three touchdowns in the last two games.
Quarterback Cole Hamzik turned in the Tigers’ top two passing performances of the season while starting in his first varsity games under center in the last two weeks.
He’s completed 20 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns in two games and has looked extremely calm under pressure in the pocket. He’s also done it all with almost an entirely new core of receivers.
Sophomore Brock Peterson has led the way catching five passes for 115 yards out of the backfield, Steven Passalacqua has six catches for 72 yards, Michael Koerner had three catches for 53 yards and Phil Mannelly and Kaleb Wartgow each caught their first passes of the season for significant gains against Wooster last week.
Hamzik has also made efficient use of tight end Brent Koontz, who has 10 catches for 146 yards on the year.
If Douglas can manage to move the ball against the Lancers, it may have a chance.
In the first matchup, the Tigers did a solid job of containing the Lancers’ offense, allowing just 123 yards on the ground and 150 yards through the air.
They allowed two early scores and a 20-yard touchdown pass in the second half, but outside of that, they kept the Lancers off the scoreboard. McQueen did the rest of its damage on defense and special teams.
The Lancers are led on offense by brothers Josh and Shawn Pritchard and quarterback Ryan Wickes.
Josh Pritchard has 731 yards on the ground this season.
Last week, the Lancers allowed only 12 rushing yards to the potent Manogue offense.
McQueen is 8-0 on the year overall while Douglas is 4-5 overall.