The Douglas High School freshman football squad stumbled in its season opener Thursday afternoon, falling 40-13 to McQueen in Reno.
“It was the first time we’d been able to play outside at all in two weeks,” Douglas coach JP Albert said. “There was a little rust, and we spent some time figuring out who fit where but it was good to get out there and hit against another team.”
Douglas hung tight with the Lancers through the first quarter, trailing 6-0 after 12 minutes. A series of miscues and turnovers, though, helped blow the Lancer lead up to 33-0 by halftime.
“That was a situation where the kids are facing some adversity and you’re not sure how they’ll respond,” Albert said. “It was a gut-check.”
The freshman Tigers responded by outscoring the Lancers 13-7 in the second half.
“They came out and kept fighting,” Albert said. “They made some big plays, stayed tough on defense even though the defense was on the field a whole lot. There were a lot of positive things to build on.”
Douglas got on the board in the third quarter when a McQueen punt went straight up in the air and took a favorable Tiger bounce into defensive end Cade Pankey’s hands. Pankey broke an attempted tackle from the punter and sprinted in for the touchdown.
“It was a weird play in how it developed, but Cade made a heads up play on it and ended up scoring,” Albert said.
Douglas final points came as McQueen was driving downfield and Douglas’ Taran Grove stripped the ball away from a Lancer running back. Pankey scooped up the fumble and raced 70 yards for a touchdown.
Defensive tackle Guy Rogers and middle linebacker Isiah Schat both had standout efforts on defense and Albert noted the play on special teams from punter/kicker Dawson Cockman.
“Special teams was really bright spot for us,” Albert said. “The punt team was able to give us some breathing room and Dawson put a kickoff into the end zone for a touchback.”
Douglas next faces Reed in Minden Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
“It’ll be Reed’s first game, so they’re going to be in the same position as we were this week,” Albert said. “They are always athletic and they spread the ball out with a lot of four and five receiver sets. We have to take what happened this week. bounce back and learn from it and have a better game.”
Photos courtesy of Brad Cockman, www.brad21photos.com