Big plays costly for Tigers
There were flashes of excitement for the Douglas High football team Friday night against Spanish Springs.
In the end, however, the explosive Spanish Spring Cougars were able to capitalize on big plays on their way to a 51-27 non-league victory in Sparks.
This was a memorable game from the standpoint that four kickoffs were returned for touchdowns in the first half — two by the Tigers’ Dawson Coman and two by the Cougars’ Gabby Ordaz — plus both teams scored on interception returns.
“Their two kick returns and interceptions were huge, and their offense had two big plays, but other than that, I thought our defense played well,” Douglas coach Ernie Monfiletto said.
Ordaz, a 5-foot-6, 140-pound junior, returned the opening kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown and then he scored on a 24-yard run as Spanish Springs took a 14-0 lead three minutes into the game.
Spanish Springs scored again to make it 21-0, however, Coman put Douglas on the scoreboard with his 90-yard kick return. And before fans had any time to settle back in their seats, Ordaz fielded the ensuing kickoff on the 17 and shook loose for another touchdown run.
Austin Cadenhead picked off a pass that caromed off another player and ran the ball back 40 yards for another touchdown that extended the Spanish Springs lead to 35-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Cadenhead caught a 9-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to make it 41-7. But then Coman, a 5-7, 165-pound senior, returned the next kickoff 89 yards for a Douglas touchdown.
Monfiletto gave credit to the wedge created by Michael Cobb, Dakota Lowden, Will Williams, Greg Sanotsky and Hunter Simpson, that opened a hole for Coman. James Monroe also threw a key block up front on the first return.
“Dawson did a great job of breaking away — he’s hard to find in a crowd sometimes — and those guys did a great job of blocking for him,” Monfiletto said.
This is the first time in recent memory that a Douglas player has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game. A comparable achievement would be Tyler Tintsman’s three scoring punt returns against South Tahoe during the 2006 season.
Haydn Brown, a senior who played defensive back and wide receiver during the contest, brought the Tigers back to within 41-21 in the closing seconds before halftime when he intercepted a short pass and returned the ball 52 yards for a touchdown.
Dakota Lowden wrapped up the scoring in the fourth quarter with an 86-yard run. The junior running back burst through an inside hole opened by blocks from Danny Rich and Ty Dodd, then received a downfield block from Brown inside the 20 to finish off his first varsity career touchdown. Lowden was also in on 16 tackles (12 assists).
Nick Pedroza had a strip and fumble recovery that stopped another Spanish Springs threat.