The 2015 prep football season isn’t even a month old so there are still several question marks.
Is Reed’s offense that good? Is Carson the best team in Northern Nevada right now? Is Damonte Ranch a legit Sierra League contender?
My answers: Yes, yes and yes.
Reed has weapons everywhere. Carson’s defense is outmatched only by its offense. And Damonte nearly surprised Reed a week and a half ago.
However, that is going off just a three-game sample size. There are ebbs and flows to every team’s season but after this week, a month of games, we can make assessments about teams with increasing certainty.
There are two games Friday night of particular interest. The first being Reed-Oak Ridge. The second being Damonte Ranch-Reno.
Reed’s contest will say something about the state of prep football in Northern Nevada. The Raiders beat the Trojans in Auburn Hills, Calif. a season ago but their defense has taken a noticeable step backwards in the first three games of 2015.
As hard as it will be for those tired of Reed winning regional championships, football fans in Northern Nevada need Reed to win this game. So far this fall, the DI North is 0-2 against teams outside of Nevada.
Reed coach Ernie Howren said he believed his secondary would be one of the best in Northern Nevada at the start of the season but it is yet to live up to that billing. Damonte Ranch torched the Raiders skill players two weeks ago and Galena even showed signs of explosiveness after entering Friday’s meeting with 14 points in eight quarters of football.
In fairness, the Raiders have been without senior corner Logan Marcantonio the last two games due to a concussion (he figures to back in the lineup Friday) so the secondary’s depth has been limited early.
The secondary will once again be tested Friday by a pass-happy offense. Oak Ridge senior quarterback Ian Book is 61-for-77 this season for 781 yards and 10 touchdowns compared with one interception.
The game will say a lot about the Raiders. It will say a lot about the state of football in Reno.
The second game, Reno at Damonte Ranch, will play a major factor in establishing the DI North food chain. There is little debate about Reed and Carson looking down on the rest of the region, but after that it’s relatively open.
Reno was uninspiring in games No. 1 and 2 before getting the offense going last week in a dominant win over Douglas. Damonte Ranch had a losing record last season and still finished second on the Sierra side. The Mustangs have one of the best offenses in the region and now have a chance, at home, to make a statement against a perennially-tough Huskies squad.
If Reno wins? Status quo. They are who we thought they were. If Damonte Ranch wins? It’s time to rethink who’s calling the shots on the DI North playground.
It’s just Week 4 of the prep football season and when Friday night gives way to Saturday morning, everybody will still technically be 0-0 with one more week of non-league games remaining. But make no mistake about it, this is a big one.