Annual Douglas-Carson clash is Friday.
A year ago, Douglas and Carson met on the football field in the final game of the regular season with the No. 2 seed in the zone tournament and a home playoff game on the line.
The Senators needed overtime to shake the Tigers in a classic Carson-Douglas game.
This year, the stakes are even higher.
The Tigers can clinch the fourth and final playoff spot with a win over the Senators on Friday at Keith Roman Field. That’s the least complicated scenario and the only one Douglas players and coaches are concerned with.
The Senators can’t make the playoffs, but they can keep the Tigers from going to the postseason – which would end an otherwise bleak season on a truly pleasant note -if Hug High beats Fallon on Thursday.
A win by Carson, coupled with a Fallon victory over Hug, would leave the Senators, Tigers and Hawks tied for the fourth playoff berth with 2-4 records. The three teams would have identical 1-1 records against the other two, which would bring in the points-differential tie-breaker.
Douglas beat Hug, 22-19, and Hug beat Carson, 25-14, leaving Hug with a +8 points-differential, Douglas with a +3 and Carson with a -11.
Douglas can lose to Carson -by six points or less – and still make the playoffs as long as Hug loses to Fallon. In that scenario, Carson would be eliminated by the points-differential among the three teams and Douglas would advance by virtue of its head-to-head win over Hug.
Obviously, the Tigers know they can eliminate all of the tie-breaking confusion by beating the Senators. Douglas is coming off a much-needed win over Fallon, 28-6, last Friday.
Tigers head coach Mike Rippee said the win over the Greenwave was a great tuneup for the finale against Carson.
“They were excited, but they still know there’s some unfinished business,” Rippee said. “I know they’re looking forward to this week.
“This is what high school football is all about. It’s a great rivalry. It’s not going to take much to motivate either side to get this one going.”
Jake Ford scored three touchdowns -two on passes from quarterback Brandon Griffith and one on a 9-yard run – in the victory over Fallon as Douglas was able to run the football and control the clock. The Tigers posted a season-high 222 rushing yards and Griffith kept the Greenwave defense honest by completing four passes for 74 yards.
Fullback Kyle Baker, in his first extended outing since injuring the medial collateral ligament in his left knee three games earlier, had eight carries for 85 yards. Monte McCann was brought up from the junior varsity team and rushed 12 times for 45 yards. J.P. Patay added 32 yards on five attempts and Dusty Cornwall finished with 47 yards on nine carries.
“We wanted to establish the ground game,” Rippee said. “We wanted to hold on to the ball, control the line of scrimmage and keep the ball out of their hands.
“And I thought our defense did a good job.”
Defensive backs Josh Wilcox, who came up with two interceptions, Kyle Wentz, Matt Parra and Jared Kenison all were tested by a Greenwave offense that threw the ball 26 times.
Rippee was also pleased with the play of Joe Andrews at defensive end, Sili Mafua, who plays both ways on the line, and linebackers Jason Porterfield and Josh Himmelrick.
“It was really a great team effort,” Rippee said. “But we still have to get better.”
The Tigers will try to build on the win over Fallon when Carson brings its Wing-T attack to town Friday. The Senators offense is based on ball control, deception and misdirection, which will force the Tigers to be disciplined on defense.
“The kids have to understand it’s called ‘assignment football,'” Rippee said. “Everyone has to do his job on every play. You have to be very disciplined. When you start chasing things, before you know it, there’s a guy running 60 yards down the sideline because someone didn’t execute his assignment.
“We just need to take of business, play hard and everything will be all right. I’m sure they have some tricks up their sleeves. We just have to make sure we’re prepared when that time comes. It ought to be a battle.”
The Douglas football program will induct four former players into the DHS Hall of Fame on Friday.
This year’s inductees are Lundergreen, who played for the Tigers in the 1950s; Terry Olsen, who played in the early 1970s; and twin brothers Dan Coverly and Rod Coverly, who graduated in 1988.