Reed didn’t leave the rest of the 4A North downtrodden on Friday night.
If anything, the contenders (Carson, Reno, Damonte Ranch, Galena) got a boost of confidence with Reed’s 47-41 escape act. The offense will remain a puzzle that Northern Nevada defenses will struggle to solve. The defense, however, revealed some holes, albeit against the potential 4A North Player of the Year.
At the season’s start, all 11 4A North coaches voted Reed the favorite to win what would be a sixth straight regional title. The same poll may reveal different results after three weeks of the season.
On Saturday, I posted a poll on Twitter, asking my followers’ thoughts on the Raiders’ repeat prospects. I gave three options: It’s in the bag, it’s up for grabs or it won’t happen. Nearly 250 people participated.
Thirty-seven percent said Reed is still the runaway favorite, 37 percent said the regional title is up for grabs and 26 percent this is the year Reed’s run will end.
After last night’s game in Carson, what are your thoughts on Reed winning another North title?
— Nathan Shoup (@Trib_Shoup) September 10, 2016
Until someone knocks them off, I can’t say a team other than Reed is the favorite. But this is not last year’s team that rolled through the regular season undefeated.
A number of mistakes (some self-inflicted) left the Raiders vulnerable on Friday night. If those mistakes become a trend, this very likely could be the year Reed goes down.
If there is a coach who can fix those issues, though, it’s Ernie Howren.
Should Friday night’s contest cause some worry? Maybe. It was, after all just the third game of the season. Does the narrow win mean Reed is coming back to the pack? Probably. Does it suggest Reed’s reign is ending? I’m not going that far.
Offensive issues growing for Nevada
Two games into the season, the Wolf Pack owns a 1-1 record. That was fully expected from the day it was revealed Nevada would open at home against Cal Poly before traveling to Notre Dame.
The biggest question mark coming into the season was on the defensive side. Nevada’s front seven got a complete makeover. There was relative comfort/optimism in the offense.
That offense has not looked sharp in the first two games. The Wolf Pack scored just 10 points in the final 55 minutes of regulation against an FCS defense in the opener. And yes it was Notre Dame, but the unit was completely shut down on Saturday, scoring a garbage time touchdown in the fourth.
Senior quarterback Tyler Stewart was obviously up to a tough challenge against the Irish. He struggled throughout. If Nevada’s run game can’t get going, the passing attack will have to come through.
Coach Brian Polian told the Reno Gazette-Journal’s Chris Murray after the game that he is sticking with Stewart for the Buffalo game on Saturday. However, the leash is becoming shorter. Sophomore Ty Gangi may get his shot sooner rather than later to lead the Pack.
Spanish Springs hosts Douglas in 4A North volleyball heavyweight matchup
The Cougars are going to have a legit shot at winning the regional title this year.
They pulled out a thrilling five-set win at perennially-tough Carson on Thursday night and now sit at 16-3, 3-0 in the 4A North.
Tonight, Spanish Springs will host Douglas at 6 p.m.
The Tigers enter 12-1, 2-0 in 4A North play. Their lone loss? A 20-25, 25-12, 11-15 defeat at the hands of the Cougs in the High Sierra Invitational.
Nathan can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His weekly column, ‘Shoup Shots,’ runs in the hard copy of the Sparks Tribune every Tuesday morning.