Reed ends Douglas High’s season in first round of playoffs
SPARKS – A first half slugfest turned into Reed continuing to fire in the second half as the Raiders ended Douglas’ season, 63-21, in the opening round of the 4A Northern Region playoffs on Friday.
Down 35-21 heading into the half, Douglas was counting on its offensive attack to continue trading blows with Reed.
After a Cameron Swain would-be touchdown was ruled incomplete to close the half, Reed opened the second half with a six-play drive capped by a 16-yard reception by Roman Villegas.
What could have been a seven-point game quickly turned to a 21-point deficit as Reed jumped out to a 42-21 lead early in the third quarter.
“We have to play defense. We have to hold on to that football. (Reed) kid made a great play and that’s the way it goes sometimes,” said Douglas head coach Ernie Monfiletto.
Douglas’ opening drive of the second half was a three-and-out and Reed responded by going 70 yards in eight plays to take a commanding 49-21 lead with 5:08 left in the third quarter.
Reed tacked on two more touchdowns before all was said and done. The Raiders ended the night with 613 total yards and 449 yards on the ground, unofficially.
Reed halfback Elijah Tau-Tolliver scored five touchdowns on the night for the Raiders.
As Monfiletto reflected on the season postgame, he noted how Douglas still has a lot of potential moving forward.
“We always want to win more football games. We let one get away from us at Galena,” said Monfiletto. “I think we’re going to be there and next year we are going to be better.”
First half shootout
The scoring started from the opening play Friday night as Kody Gray took the opening kickoff back for six to give Douglas a lead 16 seconds into regulation.
“It was unbelievable,” said Monfiletto of the Tigers quick start.
It took Reed just three plays to respond as Tau-Tolliver caught a screen pass and bolted 51 yards to tie the game 7-7 only 45 seconds into regulation.
After back-to-back punts, Reed jumped in front as a four-play drive assisted by a Douglas personal foul resulted in a second trip to the end zone. A 45-yard, play-action pass from Jack Franz found Thomas Johnson open down the home sideline.
Douglas responded to the Raiders taking the first lead with a nine-play drive, but ultimately had to punt after a fumbled snap forced the Tigers back to a 4th-and-13.
Following Tau-Tolliver’s second score to make it 21-7, Douglas punted again after a long drive, but Swain bailed out the offense.
On Reed’s first play after the Tiger punt, Swain jumped a screen pass and intercepted the ball at the Reed 14-yard line.
Isaac Shaver tossed a fade route to Isaiah Geilenfeldt, who made a leaping catch in the end zone to bring Douglas within seven, 21-14, midway through the second quarter.
Geilenfeldt made another leaping snag later in the quarter for a 15-yard touchdown as the two teams traded scores for three drives in a row, leaving Reed in front 35-21 with 2:21 left in the opening half.
“He’s a circus guy and he made plays,” said Monfiletto. “He’s going to go on and make more plays.”
Douglas ended the night with 119 yards through the air, most of which were connections between Shaver and Geilenfeldt.
The slick conditions of Reed’s grass field showed at times, but both teams were able to effectively move the ball throughout the contest.
Douglas will graduate 17 seniors in the spring and Monfiletto continued to preach about how grateful he was to his seniors.
“That senior group was always accountable. They always stepped up,” said Monfiletto. “I couldn’t ask more from a group.”