All eyes were in south Reno on Friday night as Carson traveled to Damonte Ranch for the de facto Sierra League title game.
The Mustangs entered on a six-game winning streak. The Senators had won their last four. Something had to give. And it was Carson.
Sophomore Cade McNamara threw five touchdowns to lead the Mustangs to a decisive 34-14 victory. The game lost a little muster with both teams missing key cogs. Carson did not have starting quarterback Jace Keema and Damonte did not have running back Cameron Sandoval.
The only way Carson can win the Sierra League now is by beating Douglas in the finale and hoping Damonte loses twice.
Coming up on Friday, the most intriguing matchup is likely Douglas at Galena. That one has all kinds of implication for the final two playoff spots in the Sierra League. Reno also travels to Spanish Springs, looking to take over the No. 2 seed in the High Desert League.
To view how the rankings have progressed this season, click here.
1. Reed Raiders (7-1)
Reed ran 14 plays in the second half last Friday and only got tackled eight times. The other six plays resulted in touchdowns.
The Raiders also forced seven turnovers that turned into 35 points. The postseason can’t come soon enough for this squad.
Last week: 1
2. Damonte Ranch Mustangs (7-1)
Yes, Damonte beat a Carson team that wasn’t at full strength last week. But the Mustangs were shorthanded as well.
Sophomore Cade McNamara stepped up with Cameron Sandoval out, completing 20-of-27 passes for 250 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions.
The Mustangs are a legit contender.
Last week: 3
3. Reno Huskies (7-1)
The Huskies did exactly what they were supposed last Friday, taking care of a winless North Valleys team.
They go to Spanish Springs on Friday. A loss means they would have to open the postseason on the road.
Last week: 2
4. Spanish Springs Cougars (5-2)
Are they legit?
The Cougars have won four straight games for the first time since 2010 and shown the ability to win a number of different ways.
Korbin Marcum remains in the conversation for best quarterback in the 4A North.
Last week: 5
5. Carson Senators (5-3)
Playing without Jace Keema last week certainly hurt, but Carson relies on Abel Carter offensively. Carter was limited to 163 yards on 30 touches in the loss to Damonte. That’s a quiet night for him.
The Senators have the week off to regroup leading into the regular-season finale against Douglas.
Last week: 4
Outside looking in: Douglas Tigers
Week 9 Schedule
Damonte Ranch at Bishop Manogue 7 p.m.
Douglas at Galena 7 p.m.
Reed at Hug 7 p.m.
Reno at Spanish Springs 7 p.m.
North Valleys at McQueen 7 p.m.
4A North Standings
High Desert League
Reed 7-1, 3-0
Spanish Springs 5-2, 3-0
Reno 7-1, 2-1
McQueen 2-5, 1-2
Hug 0-6, 0-3
North Valleys 0-7, 0-3
Damonte Ranch 7-1, 2-0
Carson 5-3, 2-1
Douglas 3-4, 1-1
Bishop Manogue 4-4, 1-2
Galena 2-5, 0-2
Week 8 Scores
Damonte Ranch 34, Carson 14
Spanish Springs 33, Hug 0
Bishop Manogue 34, Galena 8
Reno 63, North Valleys 15
Reed 68, McQueen 21
Week 7 Scores
Reed 28, Reno 14
Spanish Springs 38, North Valleys 35
McQueen 49, Hug 21
Damonte Ranch 47, Douglas 42
Carson 33, Bishop Manogue 6
Week 6 Scores
Spanish Springs 28, McQueen 15
Douglas 32, Bishop Manogue 28
Reno 27, Hug 18
Damonte Ranch 54, Shasta (Redding, Calif.) 24
Carson 40, Galena 13
Reed 58, North Valleys 0
Week 5 Results
Spanish Springs 36, Galena 22
Reno 49, Douglas 24
Reed 62, Bishop Manogue 27
Damonte Ranch 56, McQueen 17
Carson 56, North Valleys 0
Week 4 Results
Reed 55, Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) 34
Reno 28, Galena 7
Damonte Ranch 33, Spanish Springs 19
Bishop Manogue 18, Hug 6
Carson 45, McQueen 17
Douglas 48, North Valleys 0
Week 3 Results
Reed 47, Carson 41
Reno 34, Placer (Auburn, Calif.) 24
Bishop Manogue 35, Henley (Klamath Falls, Ore.) 14
Spanish Springs 51, Douglas 27
Galena 49, North Valleys 10
Damonte Ranch 63, Hug 13
Week 2 Results
Reno 34, Carson 17
Damonte Ranch 26, Edison (Fresno, Calif.) 10
Galena 13, Hug 12
Foothill (Palo Cedro, Calif.) 46, Spanish Springs 33
Reed 53, Douglas 16
McQueen 23, Bishop Manogue 6
Week 1 Results
Clayton Valley Charter (Concord, Calif.) 35, Reed 21
Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.) 49, Damonte Ranch 14
Douglas 20, McQueen 14 (OT)
Bishop Manogue 28, North Valleys 14
Reno 34, Stagg (Stockton, Calif.) 7
Mesa (Mesa, Ariz.) 20, Galena 15
Carson 49, Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 42