Tigers, Senators renew rivalry
Second-place in the Sierra League and home field advantage for the first round of the Northern 4A football playoffs will be at stake Friday night when the Douglas Tigers host the Carson Senators.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, however, because the 7:30 p.m. contest at Keith Roman Field also happens to be the 53rd renewal in a rivalry that dates back to 1923. Carson holds a 37-13-2 lead in the series.
“I think it’s going to be a great high school football game,” said Douglas coach Mike Rippee, whose Tigers will be celebrating Senior Night. “This is what Friday night football is all about. This is what you look forward to at the end of the year, to play a big game against a good quality opponent. They are playing very well right now, and so are we.”
Douglas (6-2 overall, 4-1 in league) is one game ahead of Carson (5-3, 3-2) and Hug in the race for the No. 2 seed and a home game for at least the first round of the playoffs. The Tigers can clinch that spot with a win and could still receive it even with a loss.
If Carson, Douglas and Hug all finish at 4-2, the tie-breaker criteria will boil down to fewest points allowed between Carson, Hug and Douglas in games against each other. Under the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association tie-breaker criteria, no team is charged with more than 13 points per game.
Comparing the scores (Douglas defeated Hug 41-8 and Hug defeated Carson 32-6) Hug has allowed 19 points, Carson 13 and Douglas eight.
To win the tie-breaker and receive the No. 2 seed, Carson would need to hold Douglas to fewer than six points and beat them by at least 13.
Don’t let any of that detract from what promises to be an outstanding football game.
“I think you can throw away the tie-breakers and all that stuff. We just want to win,” Carson coach Shane Quilling said. “I don’t care who we play in the playoffs, we just want to win the game, and I’m sure coach Rippee would say the same thing.”
The two teams are similar in many regards.
“Both of us have guys who can take it to the house and score real quick,” Rippee said. “You can’t let up for even a single play, or else the other team is going to put points on the board.”
Carson senior Chris Kotter has rushed for 1,126 yards (9.6 yard average) and 15 touchdowns, including a career high 245 yards last week in a 69-28 win against Fallon.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for No. 22 (Kotter),” Rippee said. “He’s a tough kid who runs hard. We know he is a kid you have to try and contain.”
Douglas counters with explosive Evan Bill, who has rushed for 820 yards (6.3 average) and is complemented by the inside running of power backs A.G. Reed and Jake Peterson.
Douglas quarterback Luke Rippee has passed for 951 yards and 10 touchdowns including a season-high 213 yards last Thursday in a 33-24 loss to Reno, plus he is a threat with his ability to avoid pressure in the pocket and scramble away to make a big play.
“They can do a lot of things on offense especially with a quarterback like Rippee,” Quilling said. “He’s athletic and he can make things happen. I think he’s most dangerous when he’s scrambling. He’s like Fran Tarkenton (Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame quarterback) in that he finds a way to make big things happen. He scrambles around, finds somebody open and gets them the ball. That’s going to be one of our big keys, to contain him and not let him run around and hurt us.”