RENO—The other 10 teams in the DI North are tired of Reed winning. Well, they would be advised to settle in for another frustrating season.
For the first half in particular, the Raiders looked every bit the part the part of a four-time defending regional champ in Saturday night’s opener against Carson at Mackay, thumping the Senators 44-27.
“This is a game we’ve had circled the whole offseason, something we were working for,” Reed senior quarterback Matt Denn said. “So for it to finally get here and for us to play as good as we did in the first half, it was good.”
Despite Reed’s half-decade of dominance, it was hard to see the beat down coming. The last two times the best programs in Northern Nevada met (in the last two DI North title games), the outcome was decided in the final minutes.
Last year, Reed benefited from a late missed chip shot Carson field goal to claim the regional title, 28-25. Two years ago, a late interception sealed another celebration with a 47-39 win. This year, not so much.
In the first 24 minutes alone, the Raiders racked up a ridiculous 430 yards of offense and took a 41-6 lead to the break before grinding through the second half.
“They dominated the entire first half,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “They were like a machine. Their offense did a great job.”
Denn, the defending DI North Offensive Player of the Year, hit wide open receivers deep down field routinely in the first two quarters and the offensive line moved the Carson front with ease. The Senator’s defense had no answers.
“I was really pleased with the kids, the way they opened the game, the energy, the tempo of the offense. I was really pleased with that,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said. “For me as a coach, to be able to get on a team as good as Carson, and as well-coached as Blair Roman and the rest of his coaching staff is, you have to feel good about that. Those guys are dudes over there and we put ourselves in a good spot.”
In the one-sided first half, Denn completed 10-of-13 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns. He busted a 28-yard rushing touchdown on the Raiders’ first possession of the night as a sign of things to come.
Reed QB Matt Denn is playing with beginner difficulty on Madden. Passing: 10-13, 308 yards, 4 TD Rushing: 1-28, TD
— Nathan Shoup (@Trib_Shoup) August 30, 2015
Reed’s senior quarterback finished 15-of-28 for 356 yards and four touchdowns along with one interception. He also carried the ball five times for 63 yards and the first-quarter score.
“We just had it drawn up well,” Denn said of his staggering first-half stat line. “The line blocked great, the receivers ran great routes. I mean, they made my life easy.”
As much as the game proved to be a statement and/or reminder to the rest of Northern Nevada about the region’s football food chain, it was a coming out party for junior wide receivers Robert Ferrel and Michael Spivack.
In their first varsity starts, Ferrel caught seven passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns (of 80, 37 and 43 yards) and Spivack grabbed four passes for 129 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown reception.
The second half, however, was a different story. Carson outscored Reed 21-3 as quarterback Joe Nelson settled into a groove. The Senators’ signal caller finished 12-of-28 for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns with one interception. He just overthrew a handful of open receivers in the first half that would’ve helped prevent the early landslide.
“I was happy with the way we moved the ball in the first half,” Roman said. “I thought we could have scored 21 points. Joe (Nelson) came out amped up, and he missed a couple of throws. He settled down and played well in the second half.”
Nelson also kept the ball 11 times for a team-high 68 rushing yards.
Carson’s defense also settled down after halftime, forcing Reed’s only two punts of the night on their first possessions and forcing two turnovers.
“Yeah (we made a statement),” Denn said. “We also made a statement that we need to finish and be cleaner the whole game through.”
The Raiders will attempt to move to 2-0 on the young season next Friday when they travel to Damonte Ranch for another non-league meeting. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
There was a scary moment in the first quarter when Reed junior lineman Leo Valdivia laid motionless on the Mackay turf for more than 20 minutes. Valdivia was taken off the field in a stretcher with movement in all his extremities. Howren said Valdivia suffered a back injury, and the lengthy delay was a result of the multiple precautions taken with such injuries. Howren added the junior is fine and was taken to hospital simply for safety measures.