The Douglas football team has faced some tricky offensive sets through the first four weeks of the season, but tonight may present the most intriguing matchup thus far.
Douglas travels to Spanish Springs tonight for a 7 p.m. kickoff, when the Tigers will have to find an answer to one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the region. The game will mark the last non-league matchup of the regular season for the Tigers.
The Cougars have rolled up 639 rushing yards in four games to the tune of 5.11 yards per carry, and they boast one of the top passers in the region in 6-2, 190-pound junior Hunter Fralick, who has averaged 161 yards through the air.
"We're in real trouble if that kid gets time to throw the ball," Douglas coach Ernie Monfiletto said. "He has a really strong arm and great ability. We need to make it difficult on him to find those receivers.
"To be successful, we have to make sure our coverages are right. Pressure is a key element because when you give him enough time to throw, someone will get open. We have to contain the quarterback and make his choices difficult."
Complicating matters is the Cougars' varied run game. CJ Carithers has taken the bulk of the carries but Jeff Jurgensmeier leads the team in rushing at 6.78 yards per carry. Fralick averages six yards a carry and Zach Perez has put up 5.69 yards per carry.
"They do an effective job with their fly and their zone run packages," Monfiletto said. "Their offensive line gets off the ball. We'll have our hands full trying to contain them."
The Douglas defense has done well when it can minimize an opponent's options offensively.
Against McQueen, Douglas gave up just 133 rushing yards and 120 passing yards. Last week against Hug, the Tigers limited the Hawks to just 104 yards on the ground.
It's when a team has been able to spread the ball out that Douglas has had some trouble. The Tigers gave up 358 passing yards and 201 rushing yards to Reno in the season opener, and two weeks later gave up 290 rushing yards and 245 passing yards against Reed.
"It's been a long stretch of games that don't count in the standings," Monfiletto said. "These do count in terms of building confidence and building a team, though. We've seen some tough teams, and this game will be no different."
For its part, Douglas brings in the most potent offense in Northern Nevada.
Senior quarterback Michael Nolting has completed 76 percent of his passes this season for 1,295 yards and 12 touchdowns. He's also run for 247 yards and four touchdowns.
Senior running back Conner Peterson has averaged 5.73 yards per carry for a total of 533 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. He needs 55 rushing yards to eclipse 3,000 for his career.
And senior wide receiver Dusty Fisher has 40 catches for 744 yards and eight catches on the season.
Spanish Springs will counter with an aggressive defense that has piled up 14 sacks, blocked three field goals, blocked a punt, forced three fumbles and picked off three passes in four games.
The two schools have met up just five times since Spanish Springs opened in the early 2000s. Douglas has won four of the matchups, including the last three. The Tigers have been 51-14 and 37-14 victors in the two most recent meetings.
Joey Crandall can be reached at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.