2000 football season gets under way | RecordCourier.com
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2000 football season gets under way

by Chuck Smock, sports editor

The 2000 high school football season kicked off Thursday with organized practices at all 12 Northern Nevada 4A schools.

And that means the Douglas Tigers will have only two weeks between their first official day of practice and their first game of the year, an Aug. 31 road date at Fallon.

That may not sound like much time, but, in reality, the Tigers have been preparing for the upcoming season since July 5.

For the last six weeks, DHS varsity head coach Mike Rippee and his assistant coaches have been overseeing optional, three-hour morning workout sessions three times a week in the Douglas weight room.

“We’re excited and we’re ready to get going,” Rippee said Wednesday, on the eve of his 16th season as the Tigers’ head coach. “This year has been the best year, combined, for freshmen, junior varsity and varsity (participation in the summer workouts).”

Ernie Monfiletto, the Tigers’ offensive coordinator, and Steve Wilcox, the varsity defensive coordinator helped lead the workouts each day.

Freshman head coach Mike Blackledge and junior varsity head coach Terry Hughes also showed up every morning, as did assistant coaches Rocky Walling and Matt Stangle.

Rippee said the time commitment the Douglas coaches made this summer is a big reason the off-season workouts were so successful.

“No doubt about it,” the coach said. “If you expect kids to show up, then you have to be there. You can’t expect kids to do something the coaches won’t do, especially the head coaches. If you get assistant coaches, that’s gravy.”

Rippee started the optional off-season workouts prior to his first season as the Tigers’ head coach. The initial response wasn’t exactly what he had hoped for.

“When I was a young coach, there were always kids working in the off-season, but we knew we needed to get more kids involved to be successful,” Rippee said. “It was a hard sell. If I got 10 or 15 kids there, that was a lot. And I hardly ever got any sophomores or a freshmen. There were times I was really discouraged.”

Fast forward 16 years.

On Wednesday, 44 of 46 varsity players showed up for the last lifting session. On average, 120 to 135 players from all three teams attended each workout.

The Tigers won’t have to wait long to experience the benefits of their hard work. Following the Aug. 31 game with the Greenwave, Douglas will play host to Elko on Sept. 8, will travel to Galena the next week and then will play host to McQueen on Sept. 22.

New this year is a schedule that includes four nonleague games before Douglas opens League play at South Tahoe on Sept. 30.

The new Northern 4A format this season -made possible by the fact that Lowry dropped down to Class 3A – features two six-team Leagues.

Douglas will compete in the Sierra League (formerly called Division II) with Carson, Wooster, South Tahoe, Hug and Reno.

The High Desert League (formerly Division I) includes McQueen, Elko, Galena, Reed, Sparks and Fallon.

The Sierra League and the High Desert League make up the Northern Region (formerly known as Northern Zone).

In Southern Nevada, the former Southern Zone has been divided into two Regions -the 11-school Sunrise Region and the 10-school Sunset Region, both of which are divided into two Leagues. Three new 4A schools will open in Southern Nevada next year and two more are scheduled to open the following year.

The Tigers will get their first look at a live opponent next Saturday when they scrimmage the Reed Raiders in Sparks. Then they’ll have the four nonleague games to get ready for the five-game Sierra League season.

“We could win our division,” Rippee said. “Our division is wide open. We have the people to win it, but five other teams do. too

“The bottom line is, if you keep playing hard, good things will happen.”