For the first half, Spanish Springs basically had their way offensively rushing for 323 yards and building up a 20-3 lead.
Douglas came back to make a game of it, holding the Cougars to just 82 yards total offense in the second half, but Spanish Springs held on for a 28-23 victory at Douglas High School Friday night.
"We believe we are a second-half team, but you have to play the first half too," Douglas head coach Mike Rippee said. "You can't be down 20-3 and expect to come back against a good football team. The effort was there, but we made too many mistakes."
D.J. Brady helped spark the comeback effort, taking the second-half kickoff to the 50-yard line and making a stupendous 19-yard touchdown catch three plays later, reaching around his defender to grab the slightly under-thrown ball before twisting over the goaline in mid-air.
He finished the night with eight catches for 153 yards and had catches of at least 15 yards in each of the Tigers' scoring drives on the night.
Spanish Springs came at the Tigers from literally every direction on the ground during the first half, utilizing 11 different ball carriers with their misdirection attack. Cameron Longobardo ran for touchdowns of 35 and 68 yards on his way to a 156-yard first-half, but the Tigers held him to just 21 yards in the second half.
"At halftime we told them to come out and play our type of football," Rippee said. "It was real simple. No screaming, no yelling, no pep talk. We got plain out-physicalled in the first half and that's not the brand of ball we play.
"Defending that type of offense, it's basically assignment football. You have to step up and do your job. We came out and refocused on that in the second half. You can shut that type of an offense down, but you need to step up and do your job."
The Cougars only attempted four passes on the night and completed just one of those.
Jake Williams did a superb job filling in for injured starting quarterback Roman Davis, throwing for 165 yards and a touchdown on the night.
Reese Kizer carried the ball 20 times for 98 yards and a touchdown and kicked a 36-yard field goal in the first half.
Defensively, Cole Hamzik picked off a pass and Nico Saladis and Phil Mannelly each recovered a fumble. Henry O'Hair, Ryan Pruitt, Bryan Barnard, Brady and Cory Fry played extremely well on defense as well.