A tall order faced the Douglas High football team Friday night coming into its first-round playoff game at Reed. And rather than sit back and wait on the outcome, coach Ernie Monfiletto decided to take the initiative and try an onside kick to start the game.
The attempt was covered by Reed, however, giving the defending Division I Northern Region champion Raiders possession near midfield. Nine players later, Jordan de Leon scored on a 5-yard run and Reed never looked back on its way to a 55-7 victory.
“We wanted to try and get up on them and try to create some uncertainty on their part,” Monfiletto said of the onside kick. “At first I thought that was going to risk giving away good field position. But really, field position didn’t matter that much. They were that much better.”
The 9-1 Raiders were that good on Friday night, anyway.
“Let’s be honest, that Reed team was running on all cylinders Friday night,” Monfiletto said. “The way they performed that night, and the way we didn’t perform, that was going to equal dominance on their part.”
Meanwhile, the Tigers closed the book on their season with a 2-7 record. Monfiletto is adamant in his belief the team played better than the statistics show.
“I can’t speak more highly of a group of young men and their effort,” Monfiletto said. “They’re a fantastic group of young men and I just wish their record reflected what a great football team they are.”
SPECIAL TEAMS: The Tigers had some highlights from special teams play, including Bailey Vidaurri’s 90-yard kick return for a touchdown in the second quarter. Another came after Reed scored at the end of the second quarter and Kyle Adams broke through the middle of the line to block the PAT kick attempt. The block was the sixth for Adams of a PAT or field goal attempt this season and the ninth overall for the team.
“Our special teams, their performance really paid dividends this year in giving us field position and scoring us some points,” Monfiletto said, noting that Vidaurri’s touchdown return was his second of the season.
Monfiletto went on to acknowledge the effort of special teams coordinator Joe Andrews, himself a Douglas graduate who went on to play football at the University of Nevada.
“Give credit also to the rest of my staff,” Monfiletto said. “They worked extremely hard ... our defense and the offense worked hard to get better every week.”
KEY TURNOVER: The best opportunity the Douglas offense had to score came late in the first quarter when Reed was leading 14-0. The Tigers moved from their own 23 to Reed’s 46 before they punted on fourth-and-6. Rocky Hanson’s punt deflected off a Reed player and recovered by Jordan Peters at the 21. The Tigers drove to the 5, however, the drive ended when Reed’s Nick Gregg recovered a fumble on first-and-goal. D
“You never know,” Monfiletto said of the turnover, one of three Douglas had on the night. “That was unfortunate. I mean, football is a game of momentum. When you’re in the red zone, you need to score every time.”
Douglas had one other takeaway of its own when senior cornerback Jacob Wartgow came up with a drive-ending fumble recovery at the 31 early in the fourth quarter.