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R-C Sports Notebook: Breaking 300 and other improbable feats

by Joey Crandall

It’s been four days and I’m still trying to process what happened in Reno on Friday night.

Sophomore Conner Peterson’s night (in case you missed it, he gained 322 rushing yards on 23 carries, scoring five touchdowns on his way to a school-record 357 yards of total offense in the Douglas football team’s 56-24 win over Damonte Ranch) was the stuff of instant legend.

He wrote his name into the school record books in several categories and suddenly ran his way into lead pack in the race for the Northern 4A rushing crown.



The only other player to ever even eclipse the 300-yard rushing mark in a single game at Douglas is the current single-game record holder, Brock Peterson — Conner’s older brother who ran for 343 yards against Carson in 2007. Conner also post the best single-game mark of any underclassman in school history (who knows where it ranks region-wide, but it would be high on the list).

The reason eclipsing 300 yards on the ground is such a rare occurence at any level (much less in high school, and even more less at Douglas High) is because an absolutely perfect set of circumstances needs to be in place for it to happen.



For example:

– Three yards and a cloud of dust won’t do it. You need to break some big runs and you preferably need to do it early. The more carries you get, the more a defense can key on you. The more a defense keys on you, the less likely it is you’re going to break a big run. Peterson’s first two carries went for 101 yards. It was off to the races from there.

– Your line needs to be in fine form. None of those runs happen if there aren’t huge holes to run through. Douglas’ line has been solid all year and it has progressively gotten better each week. The more impressive thing, though, was that the line wasn’t called for a single holding or blocking penalty. They dominated while playing technically sound football. If any of those early runs gets called back (Peterson was only held under 10 yards once on his first eight carries, and that was when he scored from one yard out), who knows how the momentum would’ve swung.

– Throw balance out the window. A high school game simply isn’t long enough to run only half of the time and expect to eclipse even 200 yards. It has to be a gameplan focused on hammering the defensive line and grinding them down. Spreading the defense out with the pass is nice, but unless you’re going for 20-plus yards every carry, running on half of your plays isn’t going to churn up the rushing yards like what the Tigers accomplished Friday night. Douglas only attempted 13 passes against Damonte Ranch. The rest of the game was long runs through and through.

– You have to be facing an offense with a pulse – preferably one that isn’t running much time off the clock. Damonte Ranch was both of those things. Their passing game accounted for a whopping 262 yards, while only completing 47 percent of their passes … on 49 attempts. That is a ton of clock stoppage. It also meant they were giving Douglas a longer field to work with on offense (whether by punt or by kickoff), thus leaving more yardage to be gained. If the Tigers were stopping them with three-and-outs after every kickoff, there’s no way Peterson even approaches 300 yards because they would’ve been starting every possession close to midfield.

– The game has to be relatively close. If Damonte doesn’t keep the game within two touchdowns well into the third quarter, there’s no way Douglas keeps going to Peterson even that long. The Tiger offense rolled in such a way that if the defense would have come up with even one more stop earlier in the game, it’s likely the entire first-team offense would’ve been on the bench shortly after halftime. As it was, Peterson was pulled with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. Douglas is a program that won’t just pad stats for the sake of padding stats. What’s done on the field is done with the direct intent of winning. Once that issue has essentially been settled, it’s time to get other guys some playing time. And that’s what they did.

– Finally, you need to have a special running back capable of having a special night. Peterson got a ton of help up front, but he also made some fantastic reads downfield. He was quietly having an exceptional season as a complimentary back, averaging almost nine yards per carry, mostly out of the fullback position. During his performance on Friday, though, he averaged a video-game-like 14-yards per carry. That bumped his season yards-per-carry average up to 10.9.

I’m planning to be at these games this week, so check online for updates (Cover It Live is the tool we use to post automatic updates during games and also allows for comments and questions from fans during the game, so be sure to check out our Web site if you can’t make it to the games I will be posting from.):

Here’s where I’ll be:

Tuesday

– Girls’ soccer vs. Manogue, (CoverItLive)

Wednesday

– Boys’ soccer vs. Manogue

Thursday

– Volleyball vs. Bishop Gorman (CoverItLive)

Friday

– Football vs. Spanish Springs (CoverItLive)

– The football team’s win at Damonte Ranch was the first road victory for the Tigers since defeating South Tahoe 55-20 at the Lake on Oct. 24 last year. That’s a 51-week span. Interestingly enough, the final score wasn’t that far off from Friday’s 56-24 final score.

– The Douglas volleyball team’s 28-2 overall record (13-0 in league play) is impressive. What’s more impressive is that only five teams this year have even managed to take a game off them. Those four are Reed, Yerington, Manogue, El Camino, Calif., and Reno The Reed and Yerington matches came during the first week of the regular season.

– Speaking of records, the Douglas girls’ soccer team has been nothing short of outstanding over the past four seasons. As of Saturday, they have a 65-10-10 record since the beginning of the 2007 season (This year’s junior class is 35-6-6). An interesting statistic has risen to the surface, though. Since Douglas started playing some home games on the artificial turf at the Big George Sports Complex (also in 2007), 12 of the team’s 20 non-wins have come on artificial playing surfaces. All but three of the current junior class’ 11 non-wins have been on field turf.

– That being said, the current junior class is 10-1 on the artficial surface at Damonte Ranch, where this year’s regional and state playoffs will be.

– The Douglas girls’ soccer team is starting to look like it could have a shot at the school record for goals in a season (87 in 1998 – the state record is held by Carson, which had 96 in 2005).

The team has scored 65 goals with three regular season games (plus any playoff games) remaining. They’ve been averaging 4.6 goals per game so far and would need to stick right around that average through the regional playoffs to break it.

– Tia Lyons is now 12 goals off the school record for goals in a career (56, Morgan LeFever). She stands at 44 however many games left this year, not to mention her senior season still to come. The state record is 77 (Brandi Vega, Carson).

FOOTBALL

1. Carson (Last Week: beat Spanish Springs 23-13. Previous Ranking: No. 1;

Record: 7-0, 6-0)

Why they should be No. 1: It was only two years ago everyone was calling Carson a sleeping giant. After an breakout season last year, the Senators essentially wrapped up the Northern 4A regular season title (barring a catastrophic misstep against Galena or Reno in the next two weeks) with an impressive win on the road over a pesky Spanish Springs squad. What’s more, they did it without Dylan Sawyers (hip), who they can rest right up to the playoffs if they want to.

Why they should be ranked lower: This is where the incomplete league schedules are particularly frustrating. I know Reed can’t match up with Carson’s speed, but I also know Carson can’t match up with Reed’s size. How does that translate on the field? I don’t know. Same goes with McQueen. I think the Lancers’ defensive front has as good a shot as anyone at bottling up the Senators’ ground game. But Carson’s defense can create points, and in a tight game, that could be the difference. How do we know who’s better? Wait to see it play out in the playoffs. That’s the best I can do.

2. Reed (Last week: Beat Reno 45-29. Previous Ranking: 3. Record: 6-2, 5-1)

Why they should be ranked higher: At this point, I can only go by what I think would happen in an actual game. I think Reed’s size on the lines is too much to ignore. When push comes to shove in the playoffs, I’m going with the team that can control the line of scrimmage.

Why they should be ranked lower: Hey, losing 41-14 to Manogue is one thing, but giving up 29 points to Reno? Where did that come from? Reed smashed McQueen. Manogue smashed Reed and McQueen smashed Manogue. How would you rank them? I’ve got to go with Reed in the playoffs, but you can’t get around what happened last week at Manogue.

3. McQueen (Last Week: beat Manogue 38-0. Previous Ranking: No. 3;

Record: 7-1, 5-1)

Why they should be ranked higher: They just blasted the team that just blasted Reed. There’s something to be said for a team that peaks at the right time. The Lancers appear to be doing just that.

Why they should be ranked lower: Head-to-head, I take Reed over McQueen. Too many matchup issues. Both teams have exceptional defenses, but I give Reed the nod on offense.

4. Manogue (Last week: lost to McQueen 38-0. Previous Ranking: 2. Record: 5-2,

3-2)

Why they should be ranked higher: They can hold onto that blowout win over Reed right through the end of the year. They showed that when they can put every component of the game together for all 48 minutes, they could be the top team in the region. Let’s say that happens again in the playoffs — I know I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of the ball.

Why they should be ranked lower: Assuming Manogue slides into the 4 spot for the playoffs, that puts the Miners on the road in the semifinals, and the Miners simply have not been as good on the road (i.e. at night) this year. They are 1-2 on the road, with the one win coming in a 41-28 struggle at Damonte Ranch that the Miners didn’t put away until late. Conversely, Douglas is the only team to come within three touchdowns of the Miners in four home games.

5. Douglas (Last week: beat Damonte Ranch 56-24. Previous Ranking: NR

Why they should be ranked higher: Every team in the top 4 had a tough time against the Tigers. The Tigers are battle-tested. For the most part, they weren’t at full-strength for the first go-around against the big guns. They could have most everyone back for the playoffs, and no one wants them as a 5 seed coming to town for the first-round of the regional playoffs.

Why they should be ranked lower: Damonte Ranch found some chinks in the armor of the tough Tiger defense, mostly through the passing game. That could be troublesome against Spanish Springs this week. The Tigers have also had a recent wave of semi-minor injuries that has thinned out the depth in the defensive backfield. It’s an area to keep an eye on.

On the outside looking in: Spanish Springs, Reno.

VOLLEYBALL

1. Douglas

2. Manogue

3. Reno

4. Galena

5. Reed

On the outside looking in: Spanish Springs, Carson.

BOYS’ SOCCER

1. Galena

2. Carson

3. North Valleys

4. Spanish Springs

5. Damonte Ranch

On the outside looking in: Reno, Hug.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

1. Carson

2. Galena

3. Douglas

4. Reno

5. Spanish Springs

On the outside looking in: Reed, Damonte Ranch.

I’ve made no small passing mention of my time at TCU in this column over the past couple of years. So, you all know my keen interest in the Horned Frogs somehow finagling a way into the BCS title game.

They got a huge boost from Wisconsin (beating Ohio State) and Nebraska losing to Texas, but it sure would have been nice if the Arkansas defense showed up against Auburn.

Then the BCS committee comes out and hands the No. 1 ranking to Oklahoma – the team with the fewest real road blocks remaining on its slate. Oh well, there are a couple of very outside chances the Sooners will fall, but they are just that – outside chances.

Here’s the revised Purple Perfect Storm:

Oct. 23: LSU loses at Auburn

Oct. 30: Oregon loses at USC; Texas A&M loses to Texas Tech; Baylor beats Texas; Michigan State loses at Iowa.

Nov. 6: TCU needs to blow away an unbeaten Utah on the road; South Carolina loses to Arkansas; Oklahoma loses at Texas A&M; Alabama loses at LSU.

Nov. 13: Utah wins at Notre Dame

Nov. 20: Nebraska loses at Texas A&M; Baylor beats Oklahoma

Nov. 27: Boise State loses at Nevada; Michigan loses at Ohio State; Auburn loses at Alabama

Dec. 4: Oregon loses at Oregon State; Alabama loses in SEC title game. Final stop-gap: Nebraska beats Oklahoma (supposing the Sooners have 0-1 losses) in the Big 12 title game.

We’re coming into a three-week stretch where it either happens or doesn’t for both TCU and Boise State.

There are seven games in the next three weeks that absolutely must end with a result contrary to all logic and reason. If not, there just aren’t enough landmine games remaining for the potential title contenders to knock them all out of the picture.

But there’s still hope, for now.

Oregon State winning at Arizona was a huge boost to both TCU and Boise State. The Beavers, though, are now without receiver James Rodgers, which will make it very difficult for them to somehow win the Pac 10 (i.e. the easiest and best argument either TCU or Boise can make as to getting into the national title game).

TCU still needs to win out convincingly and it would sure help things if Baylor could step up and knock off a Big 12 heavyweight or two — not just for harming potential title contenders but also to help the Horned Frogs strength of schedule.

Utah has also become TCU’s best friend and worst enemy. The Utes are flirting with breaking through in the top eight schools, especially if they keep winning. That makes the Nov. 6 matchup essentially the most important remaining game for the Frogs. They need an unbelievable win on the road to even be considered for the title game, and they also need Utah to win every other game (including managing to beat Notre Dame in South Bend the following week without any hangover from the supposed blowout loss to TCU). I know, I know, at this point it’s more likely that Utah sneaks into the national title game!

More than anything, for those that aren’t TCU or Boise fans, it is imperative that one (if not both — or even Utah) gets into the national title game this year. That’s the only way I foresee the big schools giving in to the idea of a playoff system. As long as the BCS title game remains a matchup of two BCS teams, there’ll never be any true incentive to change the current system.

Sign-up is free and you will be competing for national prizes.

Visit recordcourier.com/profootball to sign up and make your picks.

Last week’s winner: Kat Adlerz, Houston, Texas 12-of-14

My Week 7 picks:

Bengals over Falcons

Bears over Redskins

Titans over Eagles

Chiefs over Jaguars

Steelers over Dolphins

Saints over Browns

Bucs over Rams

49ers over Panthers

Ravens over Bills

Seahawks over Cardinals

Patriots over Chargers

Broncos over Raiders

Giants over Cowboys

Tiebreaker: Packers 21, Vikings 14

Season Record: 47-27. Last Week: 9-5

Time for this week’s installment of Edd Roush’s All-Stars (Formerly “This Wacky World of Sports”) – Celebrating Edd Roush, the only player ever ejected from a Major League Baseball game for sleeping in the outfield.

In his first interviews after being dealt back to the New England Patriots last week, wide receiver Deion Branch issued one of my favorite out-of-context quotes of all-time:

” … I’m not Randy Moss,” he said. “I wasn’t Randy Moss when I was here. …”

In other news, I’m not Rick Reilly.