Football: Tigers, Lancers meet in first round of regional playoffs tonight |

Football: Tigers, Lancers meet in first round of regional playoffs tonight

by Joey Crandall

The Douglas High football team will be looking for a bit of redemption on several fronts tonight as the McQueen Lancers come to town for the first round of the Northern 4A Regional playoffs.

The Tigers are coming off their worst loss of the season after falling 34-6 against Carson last week and they’ll be trying to bounce back against the team they had their worst start against this season.

Douglas dominated the second half against the Lancers in Week 3, but it wasn’t enough to make up for a disastrous first half that saw the Tigers fall behind 28-3 while turning the ball over six times. The Tigers took a 32-28 lead with two minutes left, but McQueen stole the 35-32 win away on a last-second touchdown pass.

The Tigers will likely lean heavily on their bread-and-butter — the run — which they truly established for the first time of the year against the Lancers, piling up 305 yards on the ground.

For the season, Douglas has run the ball on 67 percent of its plays for a team total of 2,140 yards. Johnny Pollack was the Northern 4A’s regular season rushing champ, rolling up 1,054 yards and 11 touchdowns on 181 carries, but junior Ryen Ake has come on strong in the past few weeks. His season total is 425 yards and three touchdowns on 52 carries.

Douglas has also benefited from the quick feet of quarterback Zack Williams, who has run 50 times for 246 yards and four touchdowns.

Williams though, has also done a good job of keeping opposing defenses honest with his arm, throwing for 936 yards and eight touchdowns on 86 completions.

His top targets have been Danny King (30 catches, 349 yards, 4 TD) and Austin Neddenriep (26 catches, 410 yards, 7 TD), although Nikolai Vasquez (18 catches, 149 yards, 1 TD) and Luis Pina-Duarte (9 catches, 135 yards and 2 TD) have been key in spreading the ball around. Pollack also has 12 catches for 130 yards.

The Tiger defense suffered a setback against the strong Carson offense last week, giving up a season-high 316 yards on the ground — well above their season average of 148.1 rushing yards per game. They were strong overall against McQueen during the first go-around, allowing just two sustained drives in the game, forcing four turnovers and holding the Lancers without a single first down for much of the second half.

The Lancers will count on quarterback Joey Sorgani, who engineered that game-winning drive against Douglas in September, to carry the offense. He has thrown for 1,367 yards and 12 touchdowns on 96 completions.

Running backs Lucas Fejer and Nick Shepherd have shared the workload on the ground with Fejer carrying 118 times for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns and Shepherd carrying 125 times for 642 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Rollins Stallworth has 24 catches for 429 yards and four touchdowns and Trent Virden has 25 catches for 315 yards and one score.

McQueen has struggled increasingly in the last three weeks, beating Hug 21-13, beat Reno 30-29 in overtime and losing to Spanish Springs 23-14.

Another thing working in the Tigers’ favor is their immaculate record at home this season. Douglas is 4-0 and has led at least from halftime on in each of the four games.

The Record-Courier will be posting live updates throughout the game at Kickoff is at 7 p.m.