STHS, Douglas set to battle at Whittell |

STHS, Douglas set to battle at Whittell

Steve Yingling

Six games into the prep football season and Douglas High hasn’t played a home game. The Tigers have played home games as far away as Bishop Manogue in Reno and as close as Galena High in Reno.

Obviously, there has been no home-field advantage for the Tigers.

The Tigers will actually play a home-away game even closer to their Minden campus today when they make the trip up Kingsbury Grade to play South Tahoe at Whittell High School. The opening kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.

It’s been a strange season for even someone like Mike Rippee, who has been in the coaching business for a long time. Rippee is hoping that his team will get to play its homecoming game against Wooster at Douglas. The original plan was for South Tahoe to be the homecoming prey.

“All in all, when you think what could have happened, this is something we’ve accepted and adapted to and moved through it,” Rippee said. “Travelling has been a little harder than all of us thought it would be, but I’m real proud of the way they’ve responded.”

What started out as a summer project to install an all-weather track became a more comprehensive plan when more donations were found to replace the football field’s turf.

“When it’s all be done it’s gonna be beautiful and here for a long time, but it’s unfortunate that this year’s seniors are the ones who have to suck it up and play on the road the whole time,” Rippee said.

Not that the road has been unkind to the Tigers. They lead the Sierra Division with a 3-0 record and are 4-2 overall.

South Tahoe coach Mike Gorman doesn’t mind the neutral site, but the Thursday game time left little time for preparation.

“We were banged up on Monday and had to to suit them up Monday and Tuesday,” Gorman said. “We had to cram four days into two, but Douglas has the same situation we do.”

Douglas faces a South Tahoe (1-4 overall, 1-2 division) team determined to become part of the playoff race with an upset win today. The Vikings gained some momentum last Saturday by beating Wooster in their homecoming game – the school’s first division win since 2004.

“We are gonna have to be at our best in order to play with them,” Gorman said. “They are a formidable opponent who is undefeated, but it remains to be seen which team is going to show up, and are they gonna take us for granted? I don’t think so.”

South Tahoe will have to do a better job containing running back Reese Kizer than it did last year. Kizer rushed for 268 yards and four long touchdown runs. They measured 65, 72, 37 and 60 yards.

Kizer, a senior, has 402 yards on 87 carries and only two TDs this season.

“We have some young kids on offense; it takes time for the offense to click, but every game we get better,” said Rippee, noting that offensive line contains only two seniors. “Last week, we didn’t get into end zone a lot, but we did a nice job of running ball and running clock.”

Gorman plans to rotate his defensive lineman to keep them fresh and more aggressive. The first-year head coach hopes to keep the score low against the Tigers, who have scored more than 14 points only twice this season.

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