Tigers visit Grizzlies tonight
When Ernie Monfiletto looked at the Douglas High football team’s schedule this summer, he had Galena marked down as one of the teams to beat for the Sierra League championship.
A lot has changed since then, however, and tonight the surging Douglas Tigers visit the struggling Galena Grizzlies for a 7 p.m. matchup between teams apparently heading in different directions.
Douglas (1-1 league, 3-4 overall) is coming off a bye and looking to build on momentum from its 47-42 loss Oct. 7 against league-leading Damonte Ranch. And Galena (0-2, 2-5), devastated by key personnel losses since the start of the season, is trying to reverse a losing streak that reached four games Saturday night in a 34-8 loss against Bishop Manogue.
“Before the season started I anticipated they would be one of the top two teams in the league,” Monfiletto said. “This just goes to show you anything can happen in high school football. But (coach) Steve Struzyk runs a great program with clear expectations so we still expect to have our hands full.”
The Tigers hope to pick up where they left off two weeks ago after scoring 29 unanswered points in the final 11 minutes of the fourth quarter, only to run out of time against Damonte Ranch.
“I thought our kids showed great character against Damonte Ranch in the second half,” Monfiletto said, referring to the team’s comeback from a 47-13 deficit.
Damonte Ranch jumped on the Tigers early when Cameron Sandoval broke a 71-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Dru Jacobs caught a 74-yard touchdown pass from Cade McNamara on a third-and-20 play. The Mustangs led 28-13 at halftime and 47-13 after Thomas Wright caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from McNamara in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
Galena won two of its first three games, however, the Grizzlies have now lost league games against Carson (40-13) and Manogue. On Sept. 30, Galena took an early 16-0 lead against Spanish Springs, only to see the Cougars score the final 29 points to pull out a 36-22 nonleague victory.
The Grizzlies feature quarterback Derek Kline, a 6-foot-5, 203-pound junior regarded as one of the North’s top quarterbacks.
“They still have No. 17,” Monfiletto said of Kline. “The bottom line is, we’ve got to stop the big play and we have to play from the get-go.”
Monfiletto went on to insist the Tigers can’t look past tonight to their rivalry showdown next Thursday at Carson. The Tigers have a shot to finish second in the league and earn home field advantage for the first-round of the playoffs.
Then again, a loss by five points or more tonight could set up a tie-breaker scenario that knocks Douglas out of the playoffs entirely.
“We’re excited about going to Galena and taking another step toward the playoffs,” Monfiletto said.
Note: Senior defensive end Garrett Frankiewich will be sidelined indefinitely due to a lower leg injury that has lingered through the season. … Damonte Ranch defeated Carson last Friday night, 34-14, to take over sole possession of first-place in the Sierra League. Carson has a bye this week.