The Douglas High football team spotted the McQueen Lancers an early 14-0 lead on the road Friday night and somehow managed to wrestle control of the momentum game back in its own favor.
It was short-lived, though, as a disastrous span of 36 seconds at the end of the first half put McQueen squarely in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the game.
The Lancers pushed ahead for a 40-14 win in Reno, improving to 2-0 on the year overall. Douglas dropped to 0-2 on the young season with defending regional champion Reed High School coming to Minden next week.
“We just suffered from mental errors tonight,” Douglas coach Ernie Monfiletto said. “It was the result of a lack of focus and a lack of preparation across the board. It starts with the coaches. We have to do a better job getting the kids ready.”
The teams traded possessions to open the game, and Douglas started to get the ball moving on its second drive before a fumble placed the Lancers deep inside Douglas territory.
The Tigers appeared ready to stop the Lancers again, forcing a third and long from the 25, but McQueen’s Patrick Deleon scampered free for the game’s first touchdown. Douglas went three and out on its following drive, and McQueen’s Lucas Weber came back with his first of three touchdowns on the night (this one from 21 yards out) to put his team up 14-0.
The Tigers started to get back into the game, however, stringing together an 80-yard, 11-play drive that culminated with quarterback Wes Hundley scrambling 10 yards into the end zone to cut McQueen’s lead to 14-7. Hundley kept the drive alive two plays earlier when he spun his way out of two tackles on fourth down to pick up a 17-yard gain.
Douglas’ defense, which did an outstanding job matching McQueen physically at the point of attack throughout the game, forced a three-and-out on the Lancers’ following drive.
“The defense kept us in the game,” Monfiletto said. “We were right there in the trenches with them. Physically we were there, no doubt about it.”
The teams again traded punts, and Douglas pinned McQueen back at its own 14 with a little less than four minutes left in the first half.
On the first play of the McQueen drive, Douglas defensive end Wyatt Eichhorst broke loose off the right side and sacked McQueen quarterback John Weethee, forcing a fumble in the process.
Defensive tackle Zach Boston scooped the ball up and rumbled several yards into the end zone, tying the score at 14 with 3:34 left in the first half.
Douglas’ hold on the game’s momentum lasted all of three plays.
The Tigers came up with stops on each of McQueen’s next two plays, forcing a third and 3 at the Lancer 32, They then appeared to have Weber stopped at the line of scrimmage, potentially forcing a fourth down, but Weber bounced to the outside and sprinted 68 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:52 left.
Douglas’ next drive quickly stalled and the ensuing snap for the punt sailed into the end zone, where McQueen covered it for the touchdown and 28-14 lead with 1:26 left in the half.
It wouldn’t get closer from there. After a blocked punt on Douglas’ first drive of the second half, McQueen’s Weber punched in a touchdown from 9 yards out with 4:41 left in the third quarter.
Deleon later scored the game’s final touchdown on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter.
“We gave them some big plays on special teams,” Monfiletto said. “We gave them field position and they turned out 21 points from it. We gave them the momentum on three big plays. You take those away, it’s a 19-14 game.
That’s not good coaching, and we just didn’t have good execution. It’s on everyone. We have to get better.”
Douglas hosts Reed at 7 p.m. Friday.
Here’s a gallery of photos from Carson Valley Times contributing photographer Ron Harpin, www.rahphotosnv.com