Douglas makes football history at Wooster | RecordCourier.com

Douglas makes football history at Wooster

by Chuck Smock

The Douglas football team pulled off a historic win over Wooster High for the second time in two seasons Saturday in Reno.

Last year, the Tigers beat the Colts for the first time in 10 years.

On Saturday, Douglas defeated Wooster, 21-14, at Wooster for the first time ever. The two teams played each other for the first time in 1979.

Most importantly, the Tigers improved to 3-0 in Sierra League play (4-1 overall) and maintained their first-place tie with Reno (3-0, 5-0).

“It’s not a championship, but it’s a move toward what we want to accomplish,” said an obviously elated Mike Rippee, still clutching the game ball after hugging just about every one of his players and assistant coaches.”I’ve stood on this field many, many years and seen one victory after another slip away. These kids were not going to be denied. I’m real proud of them.

“We realize we have a ways to go, but I think it’s a big step for Douglas High football. (Wooster) is a good quality football team. It’s just nice to get and win and to make some history.”

The Tigers got off to a slow start against the Colts, perhaps due to the lingering effects of their huge win over Hug High the previous week.

But two big plays D one on defense and one on offense D brought back the emotion that carried Douglas to the 41-8 victory over the Hawks.

Junior Andy McIntosh got things started when he intercepted a pass in the Douglas end zone with 13 seconds to play in the second quarter. Douglas trailed 7-0 at the time, and a 14-0 deficit at the break might have been too much to overcome.

The Colts were in third-and-1 situation from the Douglas 7-yard line when McIntosh intercepted the pass from Zac Bryson. Douglas coaches were screaming from the sidelines that they thought Wooster would try to throw for the touchdown rather than run for the first down.

“We’ve seen him (Bryson) a lot (on tape) and we know they don’t have any timeouts left so if we stop them the clock is going to run a little bit,” Rippee said. “You read your keys D and we don’t know for sure what they’re going to do D you react to the key and that’s exactly what happened. And Andy made a great play. There was no genius from us.”

Evan Bill provided the offensive spark in the third quarter when he broke free on a 69-yard touchdown run to tie the game.

Throughout the first half, Douglas coaches had been encouraging to run harder against an aggressive Wooster defense.

“They’ve been on me all week, pushing me to run harder and I’m glad they did that,” Bill said. “It made me work harder.”

“This is an incredible it’s a great feeling, but we can’t be cocky. We can’t let it go to our heads. We have to come out and work hard all week and show up Friday and pound Sparks.”

Bill rushed 22 times for 134 yards, with 120 of those yards in the second half.

A 7-yard TD run by Bill and a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Luke Rippee to McIntosh completed the scoring in the fourth quarter.

“It was so sweet,” said linebacker James Bunting. “It was a total team effort. It was just awesome.

“I thought we were flat in the first half. At halftime we came in and the coaches really rallied us. We changed our game plan a little and just came out and made it work.”

Coach Rippee credited the play of his offensive and defensive lines with the turnaround in the second half.

The coach said Mark Butti, Paul Mannelly, Danilo Aguilera, Zach Johnson, Adam Johnson, Grant Hall, Nate Walsh, David Silvestro and tight ends Stormy Herald and Nick Summers all played very well on the offensive line.

Dan McDonald, Hall, Walsh, Summers, Herald and Richie Ryan each made key contributions on the defensive line.

“We challenged them at halftime and they stepped up,” Rippee said. “I challenged the offensive and defensive lines to get things going and they stepped up and we controlled the line of scrimmage in the second half and won the football game. We did it where we had to, in the trenches.”

The Tigers will host Sparks in a non-league Homecoming game Friday night at Keith Roman Field.

“We have to get back to work next week so we can get after Sparks,” Bunting said. “We have to treat everybody like a playoff opponent and work our hardest.”