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Reed dispatches Douglas in regional quarterfinal
by Dan Eckles
Nov 02, 2012 | 3235 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed senior running back Ty Shepard racked up 180 rushing yards in the Raiders' playoff home win over Douglas.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed senior running back Ty Shepard racked up 180 rushing yards in the Raiders' playoff home win over Douglas.
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A solid Reed defense stymied an explosive Douglas offense Friday night and the RHS defense did plenty to help the cause. The result was a 47-14 home win for Reed in the first round of the NIAA Division I Northern Region football playoffs Friday night.

The win also left Reed with a berth in the regional semifinals, marking the eighth-straight season the Raiders have won a first-round playoff game. Their prize is a second-round playoff affair against cross-town rival Spanish Springs, a team it also beat 47-14 in both teams' regular season finale last week.

"We out-hit Douglas and then we tackled well. That was the key," Reed coach Ernie Howren said.

Reed dominated Douglas from start to finish. The game wasn't even four minutes old and the Raiders were on top 13-0.

Reed wasted no time grabbing the momentum. It returned the opening kickoff of the game 91 yards for a touchdown, or at least that's the way it seemed. The score was waived off after Reed was called for a penalty on the play. Instead of leading 7-0 just seconds into the contest, Reed was forced to start the game's opening drive on its own 9.

The Raiders were unfazed. They marched 91 yards and went on top 6-0 just 93 seconds into the game. The touchdown came on an 8-yard pass-and-catch combination from Mark Nowaczewski to Devin Gray at the 10:27 mark of the initial quarter.

"I was just so proud of our guys after that first play," Howren said. "Here it is a playoff game. Emotions are running high. We get that kickoff return called back and we're sitting at our own 9. Then we go 91 yards and score. That was just a super drive."

Douglas shot itself in the foot on the following possession. It fumbled on its fifth play, setting up the Reed offense at the Tigers' 25. Soon after, Reed got a 19-yard touchdown run from Ty Shepard, forging the east Sparks school ahead 13-0 with 8:02 to go in the first quarter.

From there, the game hit a scoring lull. It looked like the margin would stay at 13-0 into halftime, but the Raiders had other plans. With 1:55 remaining before the intermission, Gray caught his second touchdown of the game, a 40-yarder from Nowaczewski, leaving Reed with a 19-0 edge at the break.

That third Reed touchdown sealed the Tigers' fate for all intents and purposes. Douglas was able to break up the shutout. The Tigers posted a pair of second-half touchdowns, but they never got closer than 19 points the rest of the way.

"I feel like our defense played together," Reed's Drew Bryant said. "We just flew around and we didn't let them get outside for big runs. We were able to shut them down and then we tackled well."

Reed pushed its lead to 26-0 when it scored first in the third quarter. Shepard continued his big night when he broke free for a 61-yard touchdown run just over three minutes into the second half. Shepard finished the night with 180 yards on 18 carries.

Douglas finally got on the scoreboard when Connor Greth hauled in a 21-yard TD pass from teammate Michael Nolting with 3:56 to go in the third quarter. That made the score 26-7, but it mattered little.

Reed put up three more touchdowns before the final whistle blew. Nowaczewski had a 1-yard scoring scamper on a fourth-and-1 play with a minute to go in the third. That was set up by a 34-yard pass down the middle from Nowaczewski to slot receiver Brett Chaney.

Next, Reed scored on a 53-yard TD reception by Marty Hargrove from Nowaczewski with 8:21 left in the game.

Nowaczewski completed 18 of 24 passes for 291 yards through the air.

The Raiders' last touchdown came after a 16-yard touchdown run by reserve running back Jordan Deleon at the 1:25 mark of the fourth.

"We are right where we want to be," Howren said. "We keep getting better every week. We're going to the second week of the playoffs. We can still get better and that's not a knock. We just know we can improve on things and get better."

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