Football: Douglas travels to Damonte Ranch tonight |

Football: Douglas travels to Damonte Ranch tonight

by Joey Crandall

With a 4-0 series record against a winless Damonte Ranch squad, all signs would point to an easy victory for the Douglas football team in South Reno tonight.

But for Douglas, the Damonte Ranch series has been anything but easy.

The first time the two schools met, in 2006, Douglas clung to a 6-0 lead through most of the game before sealing the 13-0 win with a late touchdown.

The following year, Damonte went up 14-7 in the second quarter in Reno before Douglas took the lead on a pair of touchdown passes from Tim Rudnick. The Mustangs cut the score to 21-17 before Douglas pulled away with three late touchdowns and the 41-17 win.

In 2008, the Tigers lost star wide receiver James McLaughlin, starting running backs Johnny Pollack and Jordan Cruz on a snowy night in Minden. The game was tied at 14 in the third quarter before Douglas eventually built a 10-point lead with 30 seconds left.

The Tigers were attempting to run out the clock on a series of kneel downs when things got interesting.

With time running out, a Damonte Ranch defender appeared to bat the ball away from the line of scrimmage before the snap. Another Mustang player picked the ball up and ran to the Tiger 4-yard line with it before he was tackled.

The play was ruled a fumble recovery in favor of the Mustangs with 25.1 seconds remaining on the clock.

Douglas’ Tanner Thomas broke up a pair of pass attempts in the end zone and Nico Barker picked off a pass in the end zone with two seconds left to seal the win.

That set up perhaps the wildest meeting of the bunch last season in Reno.

Damonte was winless on the season but took an early 13-0 lead with a 95-yard fumble return for a score and an interception that set up a score.

Douglas regained the lead, 14-13, on a pair of second quarter touchdowns, but Damonte went up 20-14 with a touchdown pass late in the third.

Douglas put the game away with three fourth-quarter touchdowns as running back Johnny Pollack rushed for a career-high 251 yards.

The two teams enter tonight’s game in similar situations with Damonte winless on the year and Douglas looking to solidify positioning in the playoffs.

While the Mustangs are still searching for their first win, they have had solid production from their top passing tandem of quarterback Max Heckendorn (56 completions for 763 yards and 6 touchdowns) and receiver Lane Armstrong (19 catches for 313 yards and two touchdowns).

Heckendorn is also the team’s leading rusher, having carried 36 times for 302 yards and two touchdowns.

Jade French has carried 78 times for 271 yards and three touchdowns.

Douglas is coming off a 34-21 win over Hug last week.

Zach Williams has completed 39 passes for 512 yards in three starts for the Tigers while Ryen Ake has emerged as one of the top backs in the region, carrying 157 times for 785 yards and seven touchdowns.

Sophomore Conner Peterson is quietly putting together a stellar season on the offensive side of the ball despite seeing the majority of his playing time on defense. He is averaging 8.9 yards per carry (37 carries, 331 yards) to go with two touchdowns.

Williams spread the ball around to six different receivers last week. The top targets this season have been Ake (21 catches, 194 yards) and Nick Maestretti (16 catches, 265 yards).

Austin Neddenriep had 10 catches for 150 yards and tight end Trevor Shaffer had caught six passes for 61 yards.

Zach Falanga leads the Tiger defense with three sacks on the year and Nate VonAhsen has a team-leading three interceptions.