The fun part about the start of each season is the eternal geyser of optimism that flows
from each team’s camp—regardless of sport.
After six weeks of prep football in Northern Nevada, that gushing hope has slowed to a trickle for the vast majority of DI North teams. Once again, Reed and Carson are the teams to beat in the High Desert and Sierra Leagues respectively.
Both squads squared up against teams widely considered to be their biggest threats to league titles Friday night. Both asserted their positions as big bro.
Reed played tug-of-war with Reno early before asserting its presence in the running game, cruising to a 27-11 win. A pair of fumbles caused by wet footballs stalled Reno drives in Reed territory but as Reed coach Ernie Howren said after the game, “both teams played in it,” referring to the horrendous conditions.
Carson played a surprisingly-defensive game against Damonte Ranch and recovered an onside kick late to preserve a 17-14 win.
The biggest threat to Reed’s league title, and an undefeated regular season, is McQueen. But the Lancers are just 3-2. Their three wins are over Bishop Manogue, Douglas and Hug—three of the worst teams in the region this year.
The Raiders host McQueen Oct. 23.
A case could also be made for Spanish Springs (2-3, 1-0) but given the choice between Reed and Spanish Springs, I’ll take Reed every night. And twice on Friday.
Galena remains the biggest hurdle in Carson’s path to another Sierra League title. The Grizzlies (3-2, 0-0) have surprised many this year with a suddenly upstart offense and a defense that deserves more respect than its receiving.
But still, oddsmakers at the Sparks Tribune have already installed Carson as a two-touchdown favorite in that Oct. 16 matchup.
Bishop Manogue and Douglas will get smacked by the Senators.
With much of the drama of league titles already removed, the interest turns to the No. 2 spots in both leagues. Those teams will get to host first-round playoff games.
Reno is the favorite to claim that honor in the HDL but with the Huskies’ ho-hum offense, it’s not unrealistic to think Spanish Springs or McQueen could sneak into that spot.
On the Sierra side, the No. 2 seed was Damonte’s to lose but after losing four of its last five, Galena is looking like a viable candidate. The Grizzlies will try to win their third straight on Friday at home against Douglas (1-5).
A month of football still remains, but the playoff picture’s foundation has already been laid.
The regular season wraps up Thursday, Oct. 29.