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Tigers dominate Reno Huskies

by Chuck Smock

The Douglas Tigers dominated the Reno Huskies everywhere but the scoreboard Friday in a 13-10 win at Foster Field in Reno.

The victory, which wasn’t secured until DHS safety Nate Muren intercepted a Reno pass in the final seconds, clinched a playoff berth for the Tigers.

Douglas head coach Mike Rippee said the video tape of the game was almost as entertaining as the live version – even if the Tigers weren’t always able to turn their inspired play into points.

“I thought we pretty much dominated them offensively,” Rippee said Monday afternoon. “When you do that, you expect to score more than 13 points. Defensively, we shut down a pretty good running team, holding them to about 80 yards.

“It was fun to watch. It was one of the most enjoyable games I’ve seen. We played the way the game should be played, with emotion and intensity on both sides of the ball.”

Douglas halfback Levi Shoda ran hard and got great blocking from his offensive line. Shoda rushed 30 times for 156 yards and scored one touchdown.

“The kids did a great job against a tough team,” said DHS offensive coordinator Ernie Monfiletto after the game Friday. “My hat is off the the O (offensive) line and the (running) backs. They ran hard.

The Tigers limited the Huskies 82 yards rushing on 27 carries, including seven plays that went for negative yardage.

“This is what all the hard work in the summer is all about,” Rippee said Friday night as his team celebrated all around him. “We definitely stepped up big in the second half.”

Douglas had two chances to give itself some room to relax late in the game, but the Reno defense responded when backed up to its own goal line. The Tigers turned the ball over on downs twice on fourth-and-goal situations inside the final four minutes.

The Huskies got the ball back for the last time with 11 seconds to play, but Muren intercepted a desperation pass from Reno QB Marc Kaiser that ended the game.

Garrett Anderson, Mark Garcia and Jeremy Drew all made several huge plays on defense that kept the Tigers in the game throughout the night. Rippee also said Joel Kruger, Joe Andrews and Jeff Zinn deserved recognition for their efforts on defense against the Huskies.

“We battled our butts off and that was a great effort by the kids in the second half,” Steve Wilcox, the Tigers’ defensive coordinator, said Friday night. “They buckled down and played some great defense.”

Douglas quarterback Anthony Bartone completed 6 of 15 pass attempts for 67 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown to Jim Coyne, who was all alone in the back of the end zone, with 1:03 to play in the third quarter for a 13-10 lead.

The Tigers looked to be in control early when they took the opening kickoff and ran off 19 plays in eight minutes before turning the ball over on downs deep in Huskies territory. Douglas converted two fourth-down situations to keep the drive alive.

Rippee’s team needed only two plays to complete its second drive. Shoda burst up the middle for 21 yards on the first play and the scored from 13 yards out on the second.

Two possessions later, Kaiser completed three passes for 67 yards in a seven-play, 85-yard drive that tied the game. Marcus Corley finished the march with a 2-yard TD plunge with 49 seconds to play in the first half.

The Huskies intercepted a Bartone pass at the Reno 31-yard line two plays later, which gave them the opportunity to take a big momentum swing into the locker room at halftime. Reno coaches chose not to try a field goal attempt three times inside the Douglas 15-yard line with less than 30 seconds to play, however, and the Tigers defense sacked of Kaiser as time expired.

“That was real, real important,” Rippee said. “If they go up 14-7 on us, you don’t know how the kids are going to react. That can take a team out of the game.”

Reno took a 10-7 lead with three minutes to play in the third quarter on a 19-yard field goal by Kaiser.

Rippee said that the defensive stand that led to the field goal – which included three stops inside the five-yard line – was one of the most critical points of the game.

The Douglas offense responded by marching 80 yards in seven plays on its next possession, which culminated in the Bartone-to-Coyne touchdown pass.

“It was a big game for both of us,” Rippee said. “And the team that shows the most poise in those situations will win. We did that.

“I was real proud of our kids. They spoke volumes with the way they played.”

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

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