It wasn’t over before it started. But it was over shortly after.
Reed scored 28 points in the first quarter of Thursday’s soggy regular-season finale against Spanish Springs and went to cruise, 49-14, at home to clinch yet another High Desert League title.
“(It means) home playoff games,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said of the league title. “That’s what our program goal is, get home playoff games.”
The Raiders ended the regular season 9-1, 5-0 in league play. It was their ninth straight win since falling in the season opener at Clayton Valley Charter (Concord, Calif.).
The Cougars dropped to 5-4, 3-2, finishing third in the HDL.
“I’m going to kind of look at us as a team and say that we just did not come our ready for that caliber of football,” Spanish Springs coach Eric Borja said. “I’ll shoulder the blame. Our coaches and players, we just had our talk. We know what we need to do.”
Reed junior quarterback Cameron Emerson pushed the Raiders’ lead to 35-0 on the first play of the second quarter with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Robert Ferrel. The third of Emerson’s four total touchdowns enacted the running clock mercy rule.
The clock did not stop running the rest of the way, but the game still lasted two and a half hours due to countless media timeouts. The game was aired on local television.
“I was so proud of the kids,” Howren said of the fast start. “They hear it from us a lot, we talk about ‘you play like you practice.’ Wednesday’s practice, we were flying around. There was some banging going on. I truly believe that it just sets the tone going into a game.”
Emerson hit Michael Spivack on a two-yard slant to stretch the lead to 42-0 then Josiah Schmidt extended the gap to 49-0 with a three-yard touchdown run with 3:21 left in the half.
It was Schmidt’s third and final touchdown of the night. He started in place of Tre Bussey, who missed the game with a minor shoulder injury. Howren said Bussey will be ready for next week’s playoff opener.
Schmidt also had touchdown runs of six and 67 yards in the first quarter.
“He’s been there the whole time. Go watch film on how good of a back Josiah Schmidt is,” Howren said. “That guy is a stud. He gets his opportunity and he shines. It’s a credit to him. It’s a credit to the offensive line too.”
With the outcome decided at the half, Spanish Springs mustered a pair of touchdowns out of the locker room.
Austin Cadenhead took a screen pass from backup quarterback Frankie Tiernan 54 yards to end the shutout threat. Teirnan hit Colton Allen in the left flat for a three-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, accounting for the final points of the night.
Teirnan took over for starting quarterback Korbin Marcum, who left the game in the third quarter with concussion-like symptoms.
“It’s something we’ve talked about, there’s no quit,” Borja said. “We don’t have that word and we don’t use it and we never do it. Unfortunately, we got behind so quickly … When you do that against Reed, you’re in trouble.”
The Cougars will open the postseason next Friday at Douglas, the Sierra League No. 2 seed.
Spanish Springs bested Douglas (5-4, 3-1) in the third week of the season, but Borja knows the Tigers are a different team. They’ve won four of their last six, including a 31-17 win at Carson on Thursday night.
“(They) are on a roll,” Borja said. “They’re playing pretty good football. I know they had a sour taste when we beat them earlier in the year. It’s going to be a big time challenge for our guys.”
Reed starts the push for a sixth straight regional title next Friday at home against Bishop Manogue (4-5, 1-3), the Sierra League No. 4 seed.
The Raiders took care of the Miners at home in the fifth week of the season, 62-27.
“They (Miners) did some good things the last time we played them,” Howren said. “We’re going to come out, watch some film, kind of see what we did in the first game. Obviously, both of us have changed in the last (five) weeks.”