Tigers make a statement against Hug | NevadaAppeal.com

Tigers make a statement against Hug

by Joey Crandall
Nevada Appeal News Service

RENO – The Douglas football team brought home one trophy Friday night.

Next week, they’ll be playing for another.

Junior nose guard Anthoney Alvitre returned a fumble 65 yards midway through the third quarter to break open a close game as Douglas beat Hug 34-7 Friday night.

With the win, the Tigers (6-2, 5-0) brought home the Harrah’s Bowl trophy, given annually to the winner of the Douglas-Hug matchup, for the first time in three years and will visit Reno High next week for the Sierra League crown.

“It’s a good feeling,” Douglas coach Mike Rippee said. “Right now we have the league title within reach but we still have a lot of work to do to get there.

“The kids have just done a great job, they’ve just worked so hard.”

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The win also clinched a home playoff game for the Tigers, although where that will be played is still yet to be determined as construction work still continues on Keith Duke Roman Field in Minden.

“It’s good to nail down that home game, but we just don’t know where home will be,” Rippee said. “It’s like they say, there’s no place like home. We just hope it won’t actually be in Kansas.

“This was a big thing though, these kids have worked hard. They’ve been getting on a bus for every game, traveling to another place. They’ve just put that behind them and they show up to play every week.”

And show up to play against Hug they did.

Hug capitalized on an early interception, driving 20 yards in four plays for a touchdown 12 minutes into the first quarter, but that was the last they’d see pay dirt for the rest of the game.

Heck, it was the last time the Hawks got within 20 yards of pay dirt through the rest of the game.

The tough Douglas defense gave up 186 yards rushing and 67 yards passing for the game, but only allowed the Hawks inside the red zone on that first scoring drive. The rest of the game, Douglas just created a thick buffer between the end zone and the Hawks.

“Hug has big play capability, there’s no doubt about it,” Rippee said. “They can score from anywhere on the field.

“We wanted to take away the big play and play tough on them. We didn’t want them to be able to throw it over the top on us. We gave them a little room there, and they completed some underneath, but we controlled the line of scrimmage, which was important.

“Offensively we just wanted to run our offense. We feel we are getting better every week. We ran the ball, controlled possession, moved the chains and ran the clock. WE were hoping to get a few big plays along the way and we did.”

Douglas got itself on the scoreboard early in the second quarter as David Laird found Ryan Pruitt for a catch and run six-yard touchdown to cap a seven-play drive that saw Reese Kizer carry the ball five times for 51 yards. The kick failed, leaving Hug in the lead at 7-6.

The teams swapped punts before Hug’s punter bobbled a snap and was corralled by Brock Peterson. Nate Whalin fell on the ball, setting Douglas up at the Hug 29.

Laird found Steven Passalacqua for a 14-yard gain after the Tigers had stalled at the 28 and Kizer took a pitch from Laird four plays later and found Drew Hughes in the end zone for a four-yard halfback pass, putting the Tigers up 13-7 before the half.

The score remained tight until midway through the third quarter when Alvitre scooped up a Hug fumble in the middle of the Tiger 35-yard line and ran it back for the score.

The play shifted momentum completely to Douglas’ favor as Laird was able to punch in a one-yard touchdown run on a seven-play drive on the Tigers’ next possession and Tyler Tinstman exploded up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown run on the next possession after that.

Tinstman finished the night with 102 yards and Kizer finished with 80. Will Sheerin had 40 yards in reserve duty as well as the Tiger offensive line of Kevin Emm, Keith Lowe, Kevin Rogers, Luke Wartgow, Mike Colyer, Curtis Hartzell and Trevor McCarthy was dominating all night despite being outsized by the Hawks.

Laird completed six passes for 96 yards, including a 38-yard beauty to Kyle Heidt on a play-action pass late in the third quarter and Emm had two catches for 25 yards.

Defensively, Brent Koontz had a sack and Cole Hamzik had a number of big pass breakups to lead the Tigers.

— Joey Crandall can be reached at jcrandall@recordcourier.com or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.