Douglas defense stifles in season opener

Douglas' Cole Smalley brings down Argonaut's MaxMcCracken during Friday's game at Douglas High School.

Douglas' Cole Smalley brings down Argonaut's MaxMcCracken during Friday's game at Douglas High School.
Photo by Ron Harpin.

Going into the season, Douglas football head coach Kyle Mays said he just wanted his team to “get better” after last season’s 1-8 record.

On Friday night, the Tigers looked much improved in their 20-0 win over Argonaut (Jackson, Calif.)

“We went 1-8 last year,” Mays said. “This is so much different. These kids worked their tails off all offseason.”

The Mustangs, a CIF section winner from last year, struggled to get anything going offensively against the Tigers.

Douglas’s defense forced four interceptions. Argonaut didn’t help itself with a bad snap on a punt and a missed field goal.

The bad snap on a punt came on the Mustangs’ first possession. Argonaut recovered a Douglas fumble, but after their offense stalled, the bad snap gave the Tigers the ball at the Mustangs’ 11.

Ron Harpin
Douglas’ Aden Flory makes a tackle during Friday’s game.


Douglas would need to convert a fourth-and-one before the touchdown. Connor Jackson converted and scored the 1-yard-plunge for the Tigers. The score was aided by an encroachment call on the Mustangs on fourth-and-three.

Douglas missed the extra point.

That would be all the scoring until the fourth quarter.

The second quarter belonged to the referees. Douglas had a 37-yard touchdown run called back on a holding call — it was one of 12 penalties (10 enforced) in the quarter.
“The effort all night was good. The first half, there was a ton of a penalties, but they cleaned it up in the second half,” Mays said.

The third quarter was a battle of field position, with both teams turning the ball over on downs multiple times. Zach Westbrook intercepted a pass for the Tigers’ first forced turnover.

“Our kids kept grinding,” Mays said. “They got after their assignments and did a great job.”

As the quarter ended, the Tigers’ running game started to hit its stride, with Jackson taking over. He ran five straight times for positive gains as the Argonaut defense started to wear down. That’s when the Tigers’ offense decided to dial up a pass play. Owen Evans hit Cole Smalley on a play-action pass for a 34-yard touchdown with 7:51 to play.
“That’s how our offense is built,” Mays said. “Run-first; use that run to open up some of those passing lanes on play action … and it worked to perfection there.”

Westbrook would add the game-sealing touchdown on a pick-6 from about mid-field with 7:15 to play.

Ron Harpin
Connor Jackson is hoisted in the air after scoring the Tigers first touchdown of the season on Friday.


Jackson would get an interception, and Grant Gomes, who didn’t play as a junior, sealed the game with an interception with less than a minute to go.

“They played for 48 minutes and kept rallying,” Mays said of the Tigers.

Mays highlighted Jack Ross, who moved from guard to tackle after an early game injury.

The Douglas freshmen beat Carson on Thursday. The Douglas JV team also beat Argonaut on Friday.

Douglas, 1-0, gets another CIF champion next week when the Tigers travel to Vanden (Fairfield, Calif.).


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