by Joey Crandall, firstname.lastname@example.org
There were plenty of forgettable moments during the Douglas football team’s 36-7 loss to Damonte Ranch in Reno Friday night.
The Mustangs torched the Douglas defense during a second half that saw so many unsportsmanlike penalties that the head official issued a widespread gag order on players from both teams with 10 minutes remaining.
It was a moment between plays late in the game, though, that may become the enduring memory from this season.
The Mustangs were driving with 4 minutes and 23 seconds left with its starters still in the game. They’d attempted deep passes several times on the drive and already converted a fourth down.
A Damonte Ranch receiver came up hobbled on one of the deep passes aimed for the Tiger end zone — a ball that had it been caught, would have put the Mustangs up at least 42-7 (they’d gone for a two point conversion once already earlier in the game, leading 27-7 at that point).
Then, sportsmanship made a comeback.
Douglas quarterback Wes Hundley, filling in at cornerback on defense, rushed to the player’s aid, and helped him to the Damonte sideline. The gesture drew applause from spectators on both sides.
“Wes is a first-class kid,” Douglas coach Ernie Monfiletto said. “That’s all there is to it. He’s a reflection of his family and hopefully this team.”
Damonte ended up attempting to convert on another fourth down – the second attempt of the drive – on a designed pass with 1:18 left in the game. Douglas came with a sack on the play.
Douglas then strung together one of its better drives of the second half with the little time remaining, but had a pass fall incomplete in the end zone as time expired.
It was a far cry from how the game began.
The Tiger defense held Damonte to a three-and-out on its first drive of the game. Douglas then turned around and put together a seven-play, 39-yard drive to go up 7-0 on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Hundley to AJ Pfaffenberger.
Douglas then forced Damonte punts on the Mustangs’ next two drives but the Tiger offense wouldn’t get back within 49 yards of the end zone until the final minute of the game.
“When we couldn’t score again, that’s a problem,” Monfiletto said. “If you can’t keep putting drives together, then you don’t deserve to win.”
The Mustangs got on the scoreboard in the second quarter after a 77-yard, eight-play drive to tie the game at 7. They went ahead for good following 19-play, 93-yard drive just before halftime during which they converted on third or fourth down four times. The scoring play – 25-yard touchdown pass – came on fourth-and-26 with 17 seconds left in the half.
From there, Damonte Ranch scored on all but it’s final drive, which drained nearly 10 minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter.
“They came out ready to play in the second half and we didn’t respond,” Monfiletto said. “They just kept coming at us.”
Douglas will host Manogue Friday at 7 p.m. before getting a bye week. The Tigers will then host Carson in the regular-season finale.