Big plays spark Douglas
To look at the offensive statistics, the Douglas High football team earned its come-from-behind 32-28 homecoming victory Friday night against Bishop Manogue.
The Tigers (1-0 Sierra League, 3-3 overall) rushed for 421 yards and gained 546 yards in total offense en route to a win that put them into a tie for first-place with Carson in the league and in control of their own playoff destiny.
“Friday was a real test of character,” coach Ernie Monfiletto noted. “The boys were relentless and showed great resilience in finishing with the win. I credit senior leadership with their success.”
The Tigers’ success on offense starts with a senior-dominated line that includes center Tahoma Smokey (6-1, 275), tackles Danny Rich (6-0, 210), Dawson Hughes (6-4, 315) and Ty Dodd (6-4, 250), guards Cody Lewis (5-10, 235) and Matt Goode (6-1, 235) along with tight ends Michael Cobb (6-1, 215 junior) and Reagan Roberson (6-2, 235).
Quarterback Hunter Hickey, plus running backs Dawson Coman and Ryland DeSomber combined to rush for 396 yards. Sweepback Will Williams scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter and ran in an important 2-point conversion after Hickey’s 88-yard touchdown dash in the third quarter as the Tigers pulled to within 28-25.
Coman’s 70-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was his fifth rushing TD of the season and seventh overall.
Hickey finished with 147 yards on the ground (125 passing, all in the first half), Coman 139 and DeSomber 110.
“I don’t know if I remember a game that we had three 100-plus rushers. That says a lot about the offensive line and obviously the accomplishments of the running backs,” Monfiletto said, adding that those positions are coached by Joe Andrews and Stormy Herald.
The Tigers were dominant in the first half based on their 51-17 advantage in offensive plays, 174 yards rushing and 140 yards passing. Their highlight came on a 17-play, 76-yard drive that resulted in a 5-yard touchdown run by DeSomber to tie the score 14-all. Another statistic of note: Douglas was 5-for-10 on third down conversions and 3-for-4 on fourth down conversions.
Even so, Manogue surged to a 21-17 lead thanks to Daunte Garrett’s 58-yard touchdown reception from Lincoln Hauck on a fourth-and-1 play, followed by Dontell Jackson’s 51-yard TD run and a 60-yard quarterback keeper by Hauck. The Miners rushed for 140 yards on 10 carries (14.0-yard average) in the first half.
A CASE FOR THE D
Ultimately, this game was decided when the Tigers produced critical defensive plays.
Manogue led 21-14 and threatened again shortly before halftime, only to lose the ball at the end of a 25-yard pass play when Roberson pounced on a fumble on the. The Tigers responded with an eight-play drive in 1:08 that resulted in Josh Gurule’s 33-yard field goal as time expired at halftime.
After only running 17 offensive plays in the first half, the Miners drove for a TD to start the third quarter for a 28-17 lead. Then, after Hunter Gates recovered a Douglas fumble, the Miners drove to the 11. On third-and-7 play action pass, Hauck had an open receiver in the end zone, only to have DeSomber intercept his pass. Two plays later, Hickey broke his 88-yard run.
On the ensuing series, Manogue faced third-and-4 from the 37 when linebacker Dakota Lowden stopped Hauck for no gain. On fourth down, Lowden tackled the punter after an errant snap and Douglas got the ball back at Manogue’s 18 — setting up Williams for the go-ahead touchdown.
The Miners had another opportunity as they started from the 20 with 4:01 to go. A pass interference penalty moved the ball to midfield, but one play later, Haydn Brown recovered a fumble after a pass completion at the 37.
“We needed a break; Nick Pedroza did a great job stripping the ball,” Brown said. “We were all excited … we wanted this win really bad. This puts us at 1-0 and one step closer to a home game in the playoffs.”
To secure a first- or second-place finish in the league — worth home field advantage to start the playoffs — the Tigers need to pass a test coming up against Damonte Ranch at Keith Roman Field. The Friday game will be Senior Night for Douglas.
Damonte Ranch (5-1 overall) has won five straight games since dropping its season opener 49-12 against undefeated Cathedral Catholic in San Diego. The Mustangs are coming off a 54-24 win Friday at home against Shasta (Redding, Calif.).
Douglas leads the all-time series between the two schools dating to 2006, but the Mustangs have won the last four games by scores of 47-46 in 2012, 36-7 in 2013, 47-21 in 2014 and 68-21 last year.
The key is to play four complete quarters, which is exactly what the Tigers practice to do, according to DeSomber.
“Every practice, we play one quarter of football,” the senior linebacker explained. “On Monday, we play the first quarter. On Tuesday, we play the second. On Wednesday, we play the third. On Thursday, we play the fourth. Then, when we play on Friday, we expect to play all four quarters to the best of our ability.”