Once schedules were released, this one was circled: Reno at Reed.
As more weeks passed by and a zero in Reno’s L column persisted, the hype only continued to swell. So it comes down to Friday.
Mathematicians will tell you the Reed (5-1, 1-0) and Reno (6-0, 1-0) matchup is hardly the High Desert League title game. After all, three weeks remain after Friday night.
Logic will tell you the winner of this game will win the High Desert league. That’s not a shot at the rest of the teams in the league (most notably Spanish Springs). It’s a testament to both team’s body of work six weeks into the season.
In the meeting last year, Reed drudged out a 27-11 home win in a mud pit.
The matchup to watch on Friday night will be Reed’s offensive line against Reno’s defensive front. Those are the strengths of both teams.
Reno has shown the ability to put points on the board this season with Damonte Ranch transfer Drake Vestbie running the offense. That doesn’t mean the Huskies want to get in a shootout with the Raiders. That’s a losing formula. Reed is averaging 55 points a game during its five-game winning streak.
Reed’s defense has struggled at times this year (allowing 41 at Carson) before blanking a struggling North Valleys offense last week. The Huskies will put points on the board.
Will it be enough? We’re going to find out.
Cougars (volleyball) have another big one tonight
From the start of the preseason, Spanish Springs coach Frank Sandomenico made it clear goal No. 1 is a High Desert League title.
The Cougars took their first big step up that mountain last Tuesday, sweeping McQueen at home in straight sets. Their record now sits at an impressive 21-4, 8-1 in the 4A North.
McQueen, and Reno, are the two biggest obstacles in Spanish Springs’ path to the HDL No. 1 seed. With the first game (of two) against McQueen out of the way, the Cougars will play the other contender, Reno, Thursday night at home.
If the Cougs can get it done against the Huskies, it’s going to be tough for either team (Reno or McQueen) to catch them.
Didn’t take long for Pack to find adversity
There was a cautious optimism that this would be the year Nevada breaks out of its 7-6 ways.
The defensive front was a question mark, yes. But the secondary was gifted. The offense brought nearly everyone back, including stud running back James Butler and senior quarterback Tyler Stewart.
New offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey was going to pump fresh life in the stagnant unit.
The schedule was not going to scare anyone.
Five games in, that narrative has shifted.
Nevada has dropped three of its first five, including a rout in Hawaii on Saturday. The Rainbow Warriors led 38-3 in the fourth quarter before the Pack scored 14 in garbage time.
There is still a lot of football to be played in the particularly bad Mountain West. The season is not lost.
But the Pack needs to get out of reverse and it has to do it in a hurry. Fresno comes to town on Saturday and if you thought Nevada was struggling, Bulldog fans don’t want to hear it.
Fresno is 1-4 this season, allowing 47 points per game in the four losses.
Calling it a must-win for both teams may be a bit aggressive. However, the loser of that one will be in serious jeopardy of their season going completely off the rails.
If Nevada loses at home to Fresno, it would have a tall hurdle to clear just to finish 7-6 for a third-straight season.
Nathan can also be reached via email at email@example.com. His weekly column, ‘Shoup Shots,’ was named the best column in the state of Nevada (community division) by the Nevada Press Association. It runs in the hard copy of the Sparks Tribune every Tuesday morning.