Douglas High’s Brenton Weston dives on top of a North Valley’s player as the two go after a loose ball Friday. Douglas blanked the Panthers, 35-0, and will take on Wooster for the top spot in Class 5A Division III this Friday.
Photo by Carter Eckl.
Friday’s Douglas High football game will determine who sits atop the Class 5A Division III.
The Tigers will host Wooster at 7 p.m. and the winner will control its own destiny en route to the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
After a 35-0 drubbing of North Valleys last week, Douglas holds a 7-1 overall record and a perfect 3-0 mark in league play.
The Colts are 5-3 on the year, but also sit at 3-0 in league play after a 34-7 win over Hug last Friday.
Wooster’s quarterback Carlos Lopez (No. 9) does it all for the Colts. He’s accounted for 745 passing yards and another 92 rushing yards.
On defense, he has eight combined touchdowns while also being second on the team in total tackles with 66.
However, Douglas already has some familiarity with the Colts.
“We scrimmaged those guys in the summer and they have improved drastically,” said Douglas coach Kyle Mays. “That quarterback is a tough, hard-nosed kid. He plays both sides of the ball. He plays special teams as well. He hardly leaves the field.”
While Connor Jackson continued to lead the state in rushing yards (1,362) and touchdowns (21), the Tigers have seen other playmakers step up in recent weeks.
Senior Kyle Koontz was moved from tight end to wide receiver to give the Tigers another big body on the outside.
Last Friday, he hauled in three catches for 79 yards and two scores in the win over North Valleys. His first touchdown catch came in double coverage.
Defensively, he’s been a force as well.
Koontz has tallied 22 tackles and leads the team with 6.5 sacks this fall. He’s also gotten in on the Tiger turnover parade with a pair of fumble recoveries.
“Kyle has been working on his defensive skillset a lot in the offseason,” said Mays. “He does really well with his hand fighting and his body position on the O-line.”
Koontz has been paired with fellow senior wideout Trace Estes, who leads the team with 469 receiving yards and five touchdown receptions.
Estes, who serves as an outside linebacker on the defensive side of the ball, has three sacks and a fumble recovery.
“He’s got a couple of blocked punts … he does a lot catching the ball for us,” said Mays. “Last week he rolled his ankle and you could tell he was in obvious pain, but a few plays later went down and set up a block for Connor.”
Though he hasn’t had as much playing time, Ryker Rivinius has continued to impress his coach.
Rivinius has seven tackles this season at defensive back, but his ability to make the most of his time on the field has been one of his best traits.
“He plays a lot at corner and we never worry about him,” said Mays. “He really, really stepped up these last couple of weeks and people really struggle to throw the ball on him because he’s in such good position.”
As a team, Douglas has forced 30 turnovers as a team and needs three more to tie the school record.
Jackson leads the team with four interceptions, but Aaron Tekansik, Zach Jackson and Aaron Moss have three each. Austin Dekruyf, Brenton Weston and Zach Westbrook have two picks each.
Braden Lenz had a scoop-and-score in the win over North Valleys, giving Douglas its fourth defensive touchdown of the season, tying a school record.