Douglas football team has had to practice mostly indoors in preparation for season opener |

Douglas football team has had to practice mostly indoors in preparation for season opener

Charles Whisnand

2018 schedule

Friday: vs. Sparks, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 31: @Union Mine, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 7: @Hug, 7 p.m.

Sept. 14: @Reno, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21: vs. McQueen, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28: @Wooster, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5: vs. Galena, 7 p.m.*

Oct. 12: vs. Bishop Manogue, 7 p.m.*

Oct. 19: vs. Damonte Ranch, 7 p.m.*

Oct. 25: @Carson, 7 p.m.*

If the upcoming NIAA season was actually an arena football league, the Douglas Tigers might have an advantage.

Due to the bad air quality caused by California wildfires as of Tuesday, Douglas has had to hold eight of its 12 practices indoors.

But the large number of indoor practices may have actually been a blessing in disguise. The indoor practices seem to have bonded the Tigers even more as they prepare for their season opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Sparks at Keith Roman Field.

“I think the kids’ attitudes have been tremendous,” Douglas coach Ernie Monfiletto said. “They’re really getting after it and making the best of it. The kids have been great. I think we’re getting a super effort from them. The kids have been working extremely hard.”

But Monfiletto said there’s one area that’s been affected. “I think it hampers your special teams,” he said.

Douglas is coming off a 2-8 season, but is optimistic about this year with a large roster of 51 players.

So the Tigers are obviously hopeful they can return to a finish much more like what they had in 2016 when they went they went 6-5, finished second in the Sierra League and advanced to the Northern 4A semifinals.

Colton Weidner, a transfer from Mariposa, California, and Chris Flores are competing for the starting quarterback job. Weidner will start against Sparks, but Monfiletto said Flores will receive his share of playing time if not at quarterback then somewhere.

“He’s too good of an athlete not to be,” said Monfiletto about Flores being on the field.

Flores saw limited time at quarterback last year, completing 3-of-3 passes for 73 yards and one touchdown.

Weidner and Flores will have the task of replacing Hunter Hickey at quarterback, who was the Tigers’ all-around leader on offense last season.

Douglas will have Race Coman and Kody Gray at H-back, Gabe Wetzel and Isaiah John at running back, Cameron Swain and Isaiah Geilenfeldt at receiver and Claudio Magana and Matt Schick at tight end. “We’ve got good team speed,” Monfiletto said.

On the offensive line there’s the aptly named Anthony Munoz (6-0, 229), Andrew Browning (6-2, 210), Jose Ramirez and Andrew Hawn.

Among the defensive leaders will be free safety Luke Gansberg and a deep linebacking corps of Gabe Wood, Josh Shaw, Ramirez, and Flores, who had 55 tackles last season. Browning will be among the leaders on the defensive line.

Monfiletto said he’s not taking Sparks lightly. “They’re a good football team,” he said.

Sparks is coming off a season in which it went 4-7, 4-5 in the Northern 3A.