Tigers surge past Senators
Alex Harker ran back an interception 27 yards for a touchdown Thursday night as the Douglas High football team scored 11 points during a game-turning span of 19 seconds at the end of the third on its way to a 31-17 victory against Carson in the state capital.
Douglas (3-1 Sierra League, 5-4 overall) turned a 17-13 deficit into a 24-17 lead and went on to win the 75th renewal of Nevada’s oldest prep football rivalry.
Exciting times? Just listen to coach Ernie Monfiletto when asked about a critical goal line stand early in the fourth quarter that enabled the Tigers to protect their seven-point lead.
“They played out of their minds,” Monfiletto said, motioning toward his celebrating team on the north end of the field. “The energy … look at them over there. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Carson (2-2, 5-4) had moved to first-and goal at the 2, only to come away with no points after Reagan Roberson partially blocked Johnny Barahona’s 30-yard field goal attempt with 8:48 left to play.
Here is how the goal line stand transpired. On first down, a wall of Tigers stopped Carson’s Spencer Rogers at the 3. Next, Michael Cobb threw Tyler Huling for a 3-yard loss on a sweep. On third down, Austin Aiken along with Daniel Rich and Ryland DeSomber swarmed over explosive Abel Carter for another 3-yard at the 9.
“We knew we would have to play hard,” said Aiken, a 6-foot-3, 255-pound junior lineman. “We played like an animal. What’s the old say about a wounded bear being dangerous? We wanted to play like a wounded bear.”
A delay of game penalty set Carson back to the 14 and moments later their field goal attempt failed.
“Credit Douglas, they did an exceptional job in the red zone,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “We had the ball three times in the red zone and didn’t score (a touchdown). Douglas stepped up in the red zone and that was the difference in the game.”
One trip into the red zone resulted in Barahona’s 24-yard field goal in the second quarter — the Senators led 10-6 at that point — and Kane Hoyopatubbi intercepted a pass in the end zone to seal the victory with 28 seconds left.
The game’s complexion, however, turned at the end of the third quarter after Douglas mounted a 17-play drive that culminated with Josh Gurule’s career-long 42-yard field goal to cut Carson’s lead to 17-16. On the next play from scrimmage, Harker delivered his pick-six and DeSomber ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 24-17 with 1:33 showing on the clock.
“Coach Monfiletto told me to watch for the out pattern,” said Harker, a senior cornerback. “I saw it and just stepped in. With all the adrenalin, I was afraid I wasn’t going to catch it. I caught it here (crook of the arm) and when I made sure it was secure, I looked up and had nothing but a clear path to the end zone.”
Carson was led by Carter, who rushed for 203 yards on 21 carries and scored on 25 and 28 yards. The junior’s touchdown runs gave the Senators leads of 7-6 and 17-13.
“I’m disappointed we lost, but not disappointed in the kids,” Roman said. “We played so hard; played our hearts out. Things didn’t go our way. I’m just disappointed we weren’t able to come out on top.”
Monfiletto had said beforehand that ball control would be a key and the Tigers opened the game with a drive that took 5 minutes, 16 seconds off the clock, capped by DeSomber’s 3-yard touchdown run. They ended the first half when quarterback Hunter Hickey and tight end Roberson collaborated on a 17-yard touchdown pass over the middle with 4 seconds to go. The drive covered 80 yards in 11 plays and ended with the third-and-12 touchdown pass.
Hickey gained 93 yards on 15 carries, capped by a 2-yard touchdown run with 1:49 left to play, and his 33-yard pass to Harker set up the first touchdown.