Douglas High football coach Ernie Monfiletto acknowledged over the summer there would be no soft spots on the season schedule.
“This is the 4A (Division I), you don’t get any breaks,” he said in July. “And we don’t want any. We want to get after people and be a better football team week by week.”
The Tigers need to do just that this week because life won’t get any easier Friday night when they visit McQueen for a nonconference contest. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff on a field named in honor of longtime coach Ken Dalton, who guided the Lancers to 11 region titles and six state championships in 27 years.
That’s providing, of course, the game can be played in Reno due to air quality issues that plagued western Nevada last week. Douglas was scheduled to open its season this past Friday at Reno, however, the teams traveled east to Winnemucca to play a game the Huskies won, 28-21. McQueen was forced to switch its opener at home and traveled to Nevada Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and posted a 34-16 victory.
“We drove three-and-a-half hours to get better,” Monfiletto said. “It was important we got a game under our belt. If we hadn’t, that would have been extremely difficult. As it is, we’re going to have our hands full (against McQueen).”
McQueen powered its way past Nevada Union with an attack led by Lucas Weber, a 6-2, 195-pound senior running back who rushed for 115 yards and two TDs in just three quarters. The Lancers led 27-0 early in the fourth quarter.
“He (Lucas) was a horse,” first-year Nevada Union head coach Dennis Houlihan told The Union in Grass Valley. “We were in the right positions. We just didn’t tackle very well, and it’s hard to tackle a guy like that.”
Tackling is one area Douglas will focus on this week after Reno quarterback Matt Young and running back Cole Eddy combined to rush for nearly 200 yards against the Tigers. Young broke three tackles on his way to a 28-yard TD in the first quarter.
Could issues with tackling have been a result of practicing inside a gym for more than a week?
“I don’t know if you can get the full experience of tackling when you’re in the gym, but I don’t know if I can blame missed tackles on that,” Monfiletto said. “Tackling is always a priority and we always need to do a better job.”
McQueen was formidable on defense in its opener, as the Lancers limited Nevada Union’s wing-T attack to 45 yards and three first downs in the first half.
The Tigers are looking to build on an offensive effort in which they put together two 10-play touchdown drives — all on the ground — and ended the game with a 13-play drive that ended on an interception at the goal line on the game’s final play. Unofficial statistics showed tailback Mason Rhoads rushed for 119 yards, quarterback Wes Hundley ran for another 70 while Nick Abreu had 48 yards and two touchdowns. Hundley used six receivers to complete 12 of 17 passes for 91 yards. A.J. Pfaffenberger had three receptions for 32 yards.