Football: Douglas falls to Reed in opener |

Football: Douglas falls to Reed in opener

by Joey Crandall

Considering the last three times the Reed Raiders have made the trip to Minden, they wreaked offensive havoc on the Douglas football team to the tune of 589, 375 and 467 yards respectively, Friday night was a stellar performance for the Tiger defense.

Douglas held the Raiders to just 258 yards in the game (just 46 in the second half) but couldn’t settle into a rhythm on offense as Reed took a 25-14 victory in Minden Friday night.

Douglas outgained the Raiders in total offense, but critical and untimely turnovers (3 fumbles, 2 interceptions), a 2.85 yards-per-carry average on the ground and just 36 percent passing completions kept the Tigers from finishing a number of promising drives.

“It’s the first game for us and there is a lot of room for improvement,” Douglas coach Mike Rippee said. “Hopefully the kids are up for it, because I know we can improve.

“There were some good things out there, but we have to get better on offense and we will.”

Douglas grabbed the momentum just before halftime as Zack Williams connected with Nick Maestretti for a 25-yard touchdown pass with 57 seconds left to cut Reed’s lead to 19-14.

The Tigers had deferred the opening coin toss and were set to receiving the second half kickoff, but coughed it up at their own 21-yard line.

Reed’s John Covello (four yards) and Brent Showalter (14 yards) pushed the ball to the Tiger 3 on consecutive carries but the Tiger defense made a stand and forced a 20-yard field goal attempt which missed wide left.

From there the game became a matter of field position. While the Douglas defense strung together a pair of impressive stops on Reed’s next two drives, the Tigers managed no first downs and only four plays for a gain in the third quarter.

Reed returned Douglas’ third punt of the quarter to the Tiger 22 and Showalter later waltzed into the endzone on an 11-yard keeper to set the score at its final, 25-14.

“We played with our backs against the wall quite a bit in the second half,” Rippee said. “The defense played awfully hard, but we take that one play off and he (Showalter) walks right in.

“Credit the defensive guys, they were out there a lot in the second half. But, you can’t take plays off, you just can’t.”

The Tigers drove inside the Reed 25 twice in the fourth quarter but saw both drives sputter on fourth downs. Defensively, Douglas forced three three-and-outs to close out the game, but the offense couldn’t put anything of substance together down the stretch.

“We have to get better running the football,” Rippee said. “We can’t throw the ball 50 times and expect to win games against good teams.

“(The struggles in the running game) was a little bit of everyone and Reed had something to do with it too. They play hard tough-nosed defense. Our offensive line struggled at times, our running backs hit the wrong holes at times. But Reed played tough defense too. Still, it’s an area we will need to address.”

Reed jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first quarter on a 14-yard run from Covello and an 8-yard pass from Showalter to Chad Gray.

Following Gray’s touchdown catch, Douglas’ Nick Maestretti took the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. Nate VonAhsen’s kick cut the score to 12-7.

Showalter had a 10-yard keeper to put Reed up 19-7 early in the second quarter before Maestretti’s touchdown catch before halftime cut the deficit back to 19-14.

Williams completed 16-of-44 passes for 172 yards and Maestretti had a team-leading six catches for 83 yards.

Ryen Ake led the running game with 11 carries for 35 yards and four catches for 46 yards.

Austin Neddenriep caught three passes for 21 yards.

Defensively, Connor Hughes had an interception for Douglas and Zach Falanga and Conner Peterson each had a pair of sacks.

“There were some good things, but we are young at certain spots,” Rippee said. “It’s a setback for us, but we are 0-0 in league play and we have to get ready for next week (league opener at Manogue on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.).

“We’ll show up and we’ll be ready to play.”

Showalter was 14-of-27 for 101 yards for Reed while carrying 16 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns. Covello had 21 carries for 90 yards and a score.