Key test for Tigers Thursday
With two home games left on its regular season schedule, the Douglas High football team has two opportunities to earn a berth in the Northern 4A Region playoffs.
First up, the Tigers are looking to take care of business Thursday night when they host the Galena Grizzlies in a 7 p.m. Sierra League contest at Keith Roman Field.
Douglas (0-2 league, 2-6 overall) will face a formidable challenge against Galena (1-1, 4-3) in a matchup between teams that are looking at top-four seeds going into the region playoffs.
“You have two teams fighting for the opportunity to get into the playoffs and to finish as high as we can,” said coach Ernie Monfiletto, whose Douglas squad is coming off a bye week. “We had a great week of practice (during the bye week), so the kids are fresh and they’re excited to have this opportunity.”
On the other hand, Galena will play on a short week coming off its 40-14 loss at Bishop Manogue last Friday. Manogue rushed for 338 yards (232 by Peyton Dixon) on its way to improving to 3-0 in the Sierra League race.
What are the keys to victory for the Tigers?
“Defensively, we need to control the line of scrimmage and eliminate big plays, and offensively, we need to be consistent, control the ball and be balanced,” Monfiletto said.
Galena features a balanced offense — averaging 159.5 yards through the air and 154.2 yards on the ground — out of a pro set offense.
“They run out of the I, but they’ll give you multiple looks — double tight ends or spread — and they have some tools,” Monfiletto said. “They have kids who are pretty talented and if we don’t contain them, we’re going to have our hands full.”
Directing that attack is quarterback Mateo Rasmussen, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound junior who has thrown for 1,053 yards. Tommy Corcoran has been the workhorse of Galena’s running game with 111 carries for 456 yards and six touchdowns this season. Nolan Craddock, a 6-3 sophomore, has 223 receiving yards and averaged better than 20 yards per reception through the air.
“Their quarterback is a good athlete and he had a couple of talented guys he likes to throw to,” Monfiletto said of Rasmussen.
For Douglas, senior quarterback Hunter Hickey has surpassed 1,000 yards passing and has run for more than 600 yards. Senior tailback Dakota Lowden also has rushed for nearly 600 yards.
The Tigers are looking to continue success running the ball the way they did against Hug (314 yards in a 32-18 win on Oct. 6) and Bishop Manogue (206 yards in a 41-21 loss on Sept. 29). In their last game, the Tigers fell to a 42-7 loss at undefeated Damonte Ranch on Oct. 13.
“We need to get back to what we were doing against Manogue and Hug and start running downhill on people,” Monfiletto said. “Our kids are committed to getting better.”