With three wins last week, including a pivotal sweep at McQueen, Spanish Springs is one win removed the High Desert League title.
The Cougars have two games remaining in the regular season, at Reno tonight and at Reed Wednesday. They just need to win one of those to claim the HDL crown.
Spanish Springs lost at home in four to the Huskies earlier this season, but swept the Raiders in their only previous matchup.
The league title would come with a nice little bonus. It would mean sitting on the opposite side of Bishop Manogue in the 4A North regional tournament. The Miners have not lost to a 4A North team this year, including a home sweep of the Cougars.
The regional title game would be the soonest Spanish Springs could see Bishop Manogue.
Because the state tournament will be played in Northern Nevada this year, the 4A North gets two state bids. The Cougars would just need to advance to the regional title game to punch their ticket to state. So if the Cougs do see the Miners, they will already have a state berth in tow.
That all starts with a league title. Spanish Springs can lock that up tonight. Or Wednesday.
Gangi takes over Nevada offense
Early in Nevada’s 42-34 home loss to Wyoming late on Saturday night at Mackay Stadium, starting quarterback Tyler Stewart went down with a shoulder injury.
In jogged sophomore backup Ty Gangi (who won the backup job over Spanish Springs grad Hunter Fralick). He was nothing short of brilliant.
Seeing extended time for the first time in his Nevada career, Gangi completed 63 percent of his passes for 300 yards and accounted for a pair of touchdowns. It was the first time Nevada threw for more than 300 yards in a game since the Cody Fajardo era. He continually answered blows delivered by the Wyoming ground game.
Gangi’s success through the air took pressure off James Butler, Jaxson Kincaide and the ground game. As a result, the offense played with more rhythm than it had all season.
It is now Gangi’s job the rest of the way, but not solely because of his play. Coach Brian Polian said Stewart will miss the rest of the season on Monday at the Blitz Luncheon at the Carson Valley Inn.
That puts a bow on Stewart’s career at Nevada. He completed 317 of 537 passes for 3,551 yards with 27 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions over 29 games.
Nevada must now win three of its final four games to earn a bowl bid for the 11th time in 12 years.
Spanish Springs, Sparks boys soccer teams among postseason favorites
The Spanish Springs and Sparks boys soccer teams have both had special falls.
The Cougars lost their first two games of the season then rattled off 10 straight wins. They clinched the High Desert League title last week.
The Railroaders picked up a crucial 2-0 win at North Tahoe on Friday and moved three points ahead of the Lakers for first place in the 3A North with just two regular-season matches remaining.
Both squads have legitimate aspirations to end their seasons with a win.
Spanish Springs will have to win the 4A North tournament to punch a ticket to state. Southern Nevada is hosting this year so Northern Nevada only gets one berth. Carson and Wooster are two of the biggest threats. The Senators beat the Colts in the state title game last year and both beat the Cougars at the start of the season.
The 4A North tournament begins next Monday.
Sparks just needs to advance to the 3A North title game to qualify for state, but has a larger pool of contenders to deal with. North Tahoe, Incline, Truckee and Elko could all justifiably make a run.
The 3A North tournament starts next Thursday.
Nathan can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.