McQueen overpowers Douglas
RENO-Running back Chris Carr scored on the first play from scrimmage in the game. Quarterback Brian Fritz reached the end zone on the last play from scrimmage in the half.
And in between, there were plenty of other scores recorded by McQueen High School in the first half of the Northern 4A Zone playoff football game between Douglas and the Lancers. McQueen built a 37-0 halftime lead and coasted to a 51-0 win over the Tigers.
The loss concluded Douglas’ (3-7 overall) season. McQueen, 9-1, advances to host the winner of today’s South Tahoe-Reed game in the zone semifinals next week.
There were no excuses from the Douglas sidelines following the game. One way or another, the Tiger players and coaches knew the way to a zone championship went through McQueen’s John Robb Stadium.
“We were really looking forward to this game, because to be the best, we had to beat the best,” said Tiger defensive end Joe Andrews. “I speak for the rest of the team when I say we hate to lose, but they did a great job. It seemed like they were clicking and we weren’t.”
“We just didn’t have enough horses to take care of them,” said Douglas coach Mike Rippee. “They’re a real tough team and their intensity level was up for this game.”
The Douglas defense was unable to stop McQueen’s offense during the game, as the Lancers scored on their first eight possessions. It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter that the Tiger defense prevented the Lancers from scoring on a possession.
The Lancers cut with almost surgical precision through the Tiger defense with a variety of weapons. On the ground, Carr rushed for 133 yards on 12 carries. Through the air, Fritz was a precise 8-for-9 for 100 yards, with tight end Matt White (6-foot-3, 210) a favorite target with five catches good for 65 yards.
Carr set the tone for the game on the McQueen’s first play following the kickoff, as he burst through the line, veered right, and outraced the Tiger defenders to the goal line for a 67-yard scoring run that gave the Lancers a 7-0 lead just 25 seconds into the game.
“Our coaches stressed all week that we had to come out quick and not look past Douglas, and that’s what we did,” Fritz said. “That run (by Carr) was great. Any time you get a big play like that, it seems to relax the team.”
After Douglas’ first possession resulted in a punt, it took McQueen just three plays to cover 65 yards for its second touchdown, a 38-yard run by Dan Gubbels.
Down 14-0, the Tigers seemed poised to get back into the game as they drove 80 yards in 11 plays to give themselves a first-and-goal at the Lancer 10. After one rush and two incomplete passes, Douglas kicker John Hillenbrand attempted a 28-yard field goal, but his kick sailed right.
That would be as close as the Tigers would come to scoring in the game.
“If the kick had gotten in, it might have picked us up,” Rippee said. “But there were too many other things too stop. They were just clicking.”
The second quarter was entirely forgettable for the Tigers, as the Lancers scored 23 points in the period, including Fritz’ five-yard touchdown run with 15 seconds left in the half, which gave McQueen a 37-0 lead. That score was set up by a 55-yard punt return by Carr just one play earlier.
Senior Kyle Baker closed out his memorable ’99 season as Douglas’ leading rusher in the game with 27 yards on nine carries. In his final game as the Tiger quarterback, Brandon Griffith was 8-for-17 for 57 yards and one interception.
Josh Nussbaum had a defensive highlight for the Tigers when he blocked a conversion attempt by Lancer kicker Graham Siderius.