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‘Rough week’ now over

by Chuck Smock

Mike Rippee, a football coach who is known for his animated demeanor on the sidelines, was understandably somber following the Douglas Tigers 34-12 loss to the Elko Indians on Friday in the first round of the Northern 4A playoffs.

“It’s been a rough week,” Rippee said in a quiet voice, after spending several minutes hugging and consoling his players near the goal line at the north end of the Elko field.

Rough, perhaps, but the Tigers responded like champions.

Elko needed two punt returns for touchdowns and two TD passes from quarterback Jarrod Mosier to defeat a determined Douglas squad.

The Tigers, who were playing without three offensive starters who had been suspended for intentionally violating team rules, faced a 13-0 deficit after running only three plays in the first quarter. But Rippee’s team – a team that lost 51-7 here earlier this season – battled the entire night to stay in the game.

An emotional Rippee spent several minutes after the game thanking his players for their efforts.

“These kids did the right thing,” the head coach said. “No matter how they felt, they stayed with their teammates and they didn’t let them down.

“These kids played with so much love for the game and their teammates. It would have been easy to fold up, but they wouldn’t do it.”

Elko scored on its first possession when Mosier connected with Marcus Lesbo for a 15-yard touchdown. After a three-and-out series by the Tigers, Tim Gilligan seemed to break the game open with a 73-yard punt return for a 13-0 lead.

Wes Naugle proved that the Tigers came to play when he scored from one yard out early in the second quarter to cut the lead to 13-6.

The Douglas defense backed the Indians into a third-and-10 situation at their own 45 later in the period, but Mosier found Ryan Still on a beautifully designed screen pass and the speedy running back scampered 55 yards for a TD and a 20-6 lead.

Gilligan’s second punt return for a touchdown -this one a 55-yarder – made it 27-6 with 3:27 to play in the third.

Rippee and offensive coordinator Ernie Monfiletto reached into the Douglas bag of tricks in the fourth quarter to get the Tigers back into the game. Junior quarterback Brandon Griffith, who was making his first varsity start, completed a fourth-down pass to Kenny Nicoll near the Douglas sideline. Nicoll then lateraled the ball to Naugle, who was racing down the sideline. Naugle carried the ball the final 30 yards for a touchdown.

The Tigers appeared to have momentum on their side when they recovered the ensuing onsides kickoff, but the drive stalled on the Elko 15 where Douglas turned the ball over on downs.

Mosier then completed a 61-yard pass to Lesbo. Douglas sacked Mosier for a 12-yard loss on the next play, but Brandt St. Martin broke free up the middle for a 23-yard touchdown with 3:08 to play that all but ended the game.

Naugle finished with 109 yards on 25 carries. Griffith completed eight of 26 passes for 125 yards. Nicoll caught four passes for 48 yards.

St. Martin had 94 yards on 14 carries for Elko. Mosier completed six of 15 passes for 150 yards.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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