Football: Douglas runs over Damonte Ranch
Douglas football coach Mike Rippee has been touting his offensive line all season long — and with good reason.
The group up front has established the Tigers as one of the top rushing teams in region through the first eight weeks of the season.
But on Friday night, they simply outdid themselves.
Douglas rolled up 446 rushing yards as a team at Damonte Ranch as the Tigers literally ran away with a 56-24 win to improve to 3-3 in Northern 4A league play. They also improved to 3-4 overall on the season.
“They’re good, no doubt about it,” Rippee said. “We felt coming in that we could run pretty well on Damonte They just did a great job though.
“They opened up some huge seams up front and once our backs got into the backfield, we made some good reads and cuts. We felt if we could come out and establish that run game, we’d be pretty successful. This was a situation where we were bigger and stronger up front and we were able to do a lot of good things with the running game.
At the center of it was sophomore Conner Peterson, thrust into duty because starting running back Ryen Ake was nursing a hamstring injury all week.
Peterson ran for 322 yards and five touchdowns on just 23 carries in the game, falling just 21 yards short of the school record for rushing yards in a game. His total was still the second most for yards in a game in the program’s 87-year history.
It was also the most ever for an underclassman and his 357 yards of total offense (he had three catches for 35 yards) is believed to be a school record (Tim Rudnick’s 352, all passing, against Las Vegas in 2008, was the previous most on record).
“The line was just outstanding tonight,” Peterson said of the group up front, which included Ben Reed, Matt Wylie, Zack Tierney, Spencer Fellows, August Greth, Trevor Shaffer, Jackson Ketron and Riley Griffith. “It is a running back’s dream to have a line played the way they did tonight.”
Peterson took his first carry of the game 38 yards untouched for a score. His second carry, on Douglas’ next drive, went for 63 yards giving him 101 yard after just two touches.
At that point, the record, which was set at 343 in 2007 by Peterson’s older brother Brock against rival Carson, starting to slip into Conner’s mind.
“It was in my head a bit,” Peterson said. “After the first couple series I started to think about it a bit. It would have been nice to get there, but that’s OK. There will be more games. Tonight was just a special night. Something like this has never happened to me before. It was a great feeling.”
Damonte hung in the game with its solid passing game, keeping the game within about two touchdowns before Peterson scored on runs of 58 and 10 yards late in the third quarter to essentially put the game away.
The 10-yard touchdown, with 2:47 left in the third, was Peterson’s last touch of the night.
The sophomore back has split time between the offense and the defense this season, but senior defensive end Scotty Rudnick made his first start of the season after returning from a broken collarbone. That allowed Riley Griffith, who had been starting at defensive end all season, to shift to outside linebacker, which freed Peterson up for extra duty on offense.
“It was just great to see Scotty back out there,” Rippee said of Rudnick, who had a sack in the game. “We weren’t sure we were going to get him back, but it was a real pleasure to see his hard work pay off.
“Tonight was just a case of us needing to get better at tackling in the open field. The guys up front have been doing a tremendous job stuffing the run, but we have to get better in space. We have to get better this week, because Spanish Springs can throw the football pretty well too. We have to up our game and tackle better.
“We don’t want to get in a game where we have to match people score for score.”
Zack Williams completed 10 of 13 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns (one to Peterson and one to Austin Neddenriep). He also rushed five times for 26 yards and a touchdown.
Ryan Simons carried 10 times for 38 yards and a touchdown and backup quarterback Sam Cochran had two carries for 53 yards.
Neddenriep caught five passes for 55 yards and Connor Hughes caught three passes for 42 yards.
Defensively, Douglas got two sacks from Zach Falanga, a sack from Trevor Hemsath and an interception from Dillon Spates. Simons also blocked a punt.
Douglas hosts Spanish Springs Friday at 7 p.m. in its final home game of the season.
Joey Crandall can be reached at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.