Football: Douglas opens playoffs vs. Reno tonight |

Football: Douglas opens playoffs vs. Reno tonight

by Joey Crandall

It’s been seven years since Douglas High has won a playoff football game. It’s been 13 since the Tigers have gone out on the road in the postseason and emerged victorious.

Douglas will have a chance to break both streaks, though, tonight as the fifth-seeded Tigers travel to fourth-seeded Reno High for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Douglas (5-5 overall, 5-3 Northern 4A) enters tonight’s game on a four-game win streak while Reno (6-4, 5-3) comes in having lost its last three to Reed, McQueen and Carson.

The Tigers seem to be peaking at the right time, and boast one of the most potent offenses in school history, led by junior quarterback Michael Nolting and junior running back Conner Peterson.

Douglas has gained an average of 6.26 yards per play this year and has posted 36.1 points per game.

The Tigers’ spread offense has revolutionized Douglas’ approach to the game as the pass has been used to open up the run game.

Nolting has 172 completions on the year, already a single-season school record, for 2,113 yards (No. 2 in the single-season record books). He’s completed 66 percent of his passes and utilized 11 different targets, seven of whom average at least one catch per game.

Peterson became the school’s No. 2 all-time leading rusher (2,216 yards in a season and a half) with his 151 yards against Galena last week. He’s averaging 5.03 yards per carry this season.

Nick Maestretti (35 catches, 371 yards, 4 TD), Nate VonAhsen (31-572-5) and Dusty Fisher (28-448-4) have been Nolting’s top targets.

Senior defensive end Trevor Shaffer has stepped up with a huge second half of the season. He currently leads the team with seven sacks.

Douglas is 4-14 in playoff action since joining the large-school classification more than 30 years ago.

The Tigers have won only one playoff game on the road during that span – a 45-42 thriller at Elko in 1997 won on a field goal from Chris Griffith. It was the Tigers’ first playoff win since joining the large-school classification.

Douglas’ last playoff win came at home in the first round against Manogue in 2004.

Spike Agosta paced the Tigers on the ground, leading them to a 30-14 win.

Douglas and Reno have twice in the playoffs previously. The most recent meeting came in the 2003 regional championship game when a snowstorm hit just before kickoff. Reno emerged as 34-14 victors.

The first meeting was in the 1951 regional championship when Reno won 20-7 at Mackay Stadium.

In the series, Douglas has won three of the last four meetings. The Tigers defeated Reno 24-21 in 2005 to clinch the Sierra League title and then lost 21-7 the following year in Minden.

Douglas had 23-6 and 20-6 wins in 2008 and 2009 respectively.