Tigers have score to settle with McQueen | NevadaAppeal.com

Tigers have score to settle with McQueen

Dave Price

Needless to say, any football team wants to start out the season with a win.

As far as the Douglas High football team is concerned, however, there will be a score to settle tonight in its opener against McQueen in Reno. Not only a score from last year when the Lancers mounted a second-half rally to secure their season opening 33-18 win in Minden, but the Tigers are looking to end 29 years of frustration at McQueen.

That is, Douglas hasn’t won at McQueen since 1987.

Tonight’s non-conference contest is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Ken Dalton Field.

“We’ve never won up there since I’ve been here, so this is obviously a big game for us,” Douglas coach Ernie Monfiletto said.

McQueen leads the overall series between the schools, 24-4. It should be noted, however, the Lancers stood as one of the North’s best programs during a span of two decades between 1990 and 2010 when they won six state championships and 12 region titles.

Last year, the Lancers were 5-5 and finished third in the High Desert League, including that 33-18 win at Douglas where they scored 20 unanswered points in the final two quarters to erase an 18-13 halftime deficit.

“These aren’t the McQueen Lancers you’ve seen in the past … then again, it’s hard to compare anyone to those defenses,” Monfiletto said. “Nobody had better take them for granted, they are a quality team. We’re going to have to get after them and play to our potential.”

The Lancers have some key returnees to keep an eye on. For example, coach Jim Snelling has indicated the Lancers will utilize two senior quarterbacks this season: Joey Cox (6-3, 200), a drop-back passing threat who earned second-team all-league honors last year; and Zach Ball (5-11, 145), who features speed and mobility.

John York (5-10, 175) was a second-team all-league running back and linebacker while Jadon Laporte earned second-team recognition as a defensive end. Center Jordan Hoover also returns to lead the offensive line. Another returnee is 6-4 senior Tavian Cheathon, who caught a 34-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter against Douglas last year.

In that 2015 game, Douglas took an early lead when quarterback Bryce James ran 69 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.

James has graduated and junior Hunter Hickey has stepped into the quarterback position to direct the Tigers’ Pistol attack. He’s now working behind a veteran offensive line that includes returning honorable mention all-league performers Tahoma Smokey (6-3, 270) at center, Cody Lewis (5-10, 240) at guard and Daniel Rich (5-11, 205) at tackle.

Notes: The last time Douglas won at McQueen? That was a 29-22 triumph in the 1987 season opener after Rod Coverley ran for his third touchdown of the night with 5:25 left to play. … Monfiletto notes the program’s staff of 17 coaches at the varsity, JV and freshman levels includes 11 Douglas graduates. “I feel pretty fortunate to have these guys who believe in black and orange,” Monfiletto said, adding many of those coaches are volunteers.