Football: Douglas falls to McQueen
For two quarters Friday night, the Douglas football team was doing exactly what it needed to do against the McQueen Lancers.
The Tigers started fast, got ahead early and carried a 14-7 lead into halftime.
It was less than two minutes into the third quarter, though, when the rash of big plays that has plagued the Tigers all season hit.
First it was a 69-yard touchdown pass. Four minutes later it was a 34-yard break to the sideline and into the end zone.
Four stalled offensive drives and five third-down conversions surrendered by the defense later, the Tigers found themselves on the short end of a 32-14 loss in Minden.
“We couldn’t finish the deal,” Douglas coach Mike Rippee said. “We did well in the first half, but it’s the same old thing coming back to bite us. We can’t give up those big plays.
“It’s gotten us every game this season. We were moving the ball and doing some good things, but then we came out of halftime, stalled a few times and made no stops in the third quarter.
“It really put us between a rock and a hard place. The kids battled, played hard and gave everything they had. Just didn’t work out for us tonight. We can cry about it or we can get tougher for next week.”
After trading punts to open the game, Douglas went up 7-0 with 2:46 left in the first quarter on a 1-yard plunge from junior running back Conner Peterson. The play capped an 11-play, 49-yard drive.
McQueen tied it up on a 12-yard run from Eric Martinez with 10:40 left in the second quarter.
The Tigers set up at their own 38 with 7:46 left in the half after defensive tackle Nick Fickle recovered a fumble.
Douglas drove 62 yards on 13 plays before Peterson, who finished with 59 hard-earned rushing yards on 24 carries, again scored from a yard out to put Douglas up 14-7 with 3:22 remaining in the half.
“He ran hard all night,” Rippee said. “He was really taking some shots and we never got him an opportunity to hit a seam and break out.
“He battled for every yard he got. We have to do a better job of getting him some seams. We have to do better running our option and hopefully taking some pressure off him.”
McQueen was keying on Peterson throughout the first half, but Douglas countered by putting quarterback Michael Nolting into play to the tune of 11 carries for 42 yards.
“We knew they’d be focusing on Conner and that was one way we saw to take advantage of that.”
McQueen came out firing in the second half as quarterback Kyle Robbins completed a 69-yard pass to Arnold Carrillo on the wing to tie the game at 14.
Douglas went three-and-out on its following drive, which it did on three of five second-half drives, and McQueen came right back down on its next possession. Michael Harrison scored on a 34-yard run to put the Lancers up 21-14.
Douglas turned the ball over on its next drive, but got the ball right back when Trevor Shaffer recovered a fumble on the next play.
Another three-and-out, though, set McQueen up for an eight-play, 53-yard scoring drive capped by Harrison taking a toss in from four yards out.
The Lancers bobbled the snap on the ensuing extra-point attempt, but were able to recover the ball and run it into the end zone for the two-point conversion and the 29-14 lead.
Douglas then put together its only prolonged drive of the second half (50 yards on 11 plays) but that ended on a missed field goal from 30 yards out.
McQueen tacked on a 39-yard field goal with 3:02 remaining to set the score at its final.
“They didn’t do anything different in the second half than we expected them to,” Rippee said. “They just broke tackles and made us pay. People were out of position and not flying to the ball as intense as they were in the first half. We have to figure out how to take the big play away. We have to get better there and I have to get better there.”
Nolting completed 10-of-20 passes for 114 yards for Douglas while Nate VonAhsen had three catches for 72 yards. Connor Hughes caught three passes for 19 yards and Trevor Shaffer, Peterson, Dusty Fisher and Nick Maestretti each caught one pass.
Next up for Douglas is a match-up with rival Carson Friday at 7 p.m.