Tigers await Sierra test at Manogue | RecordCourier.com

Tigers await Sierra test at Manogue

Former and current military servicemen and women and their Douglas player escorts line the field Friday during military tribute night.
Brad Coman |

Now that all of the quizzes are in the books, the Douglas Tigers are facing a series of tests over the next month that will determine the Sierra League football playoff picture.

Douglas (1-4 overall) has a clean slate to work with — each of the league’s five teams are 0-0 — coming its opener Friday night against Bishop Manogue (3-2) in Reno. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff at D.J. Bernardis Field.

Manogue feature formidable talent and speed on a young roster that is under first-year head coach Ernie Howren, who guided Reed to five region titles in six years before changing programs last winter. The Miners have beaten North Valleys, 60-13, Henley (Klamath Falls, Ore.), 49-14, and Hug, 45-0, while absorbing losses at the hands of McQueen, 29-13, and Reed, 36-20 (on Friday).

On the other hand, Douglas has faced a more difficult preseason schedule which includes losses to three opponents with a combined record of 18-1 — 56-32 against Rigby, Idaho, (5-0 record), 34-6 against Reed (4-1) and 43-0 on Friday against Reno (5-0). The Tigers also fell against Spanish Springs, 26-20, and posted a 30-24 win at North Valleys.

Reno may have been the biggest challenge to date, based on a swarming defense and ball control offense the Huskies used to lead the game virtually start to finish.

Reno had eight ball carriers combine to rush for 327 (7.98 yards per carry) behind a strong offensive line led by veterans Trey Hamilton (6-4, 265) and Logan Hutcherson (6-0, 209, state wrestling tournament qualifier), in addition to sophomore tackle Junior Finau (6-3, 300).

And on a night when blue chip running back Brandon Kaho was not in uniform, quarterback Sawyer Jaksick demonstrated his ability to run and throw the ball. Jaksick scored the game’s first touchdown on a 33-yard run in which he twice split two Douglas defenders on his way to the end zone. The senior also threw a 58-yard scoring bomb to Zane Barnard to extend Reno’s lead to 36-0 early in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the Tigers were limited to 89 yards in total offense in their second annual Military Tribute Game. Reno’s average for the season is 108 yards.

Douglas had its best scoring opportunity in the fourth quarter, sparked by Luke Gansberg’s 31-yard kick return to the 41. Devon Ryan caught a 9-yard pass from quarterback Hunter Hickey at midfield, then Andrew Williams caught a 14-yard pass to the 32. Hickey’s ensuing pass to the end zone was pulled down by Ryan, however, the play was ruled out of bounds by an official. Two plays later, Reno’s Ryan Gill ended the threat on an interception.