Just two 4A North football teams will be left standing after Thursday night. The games were moved up a night because Veteran’s Day falls on Friday.
Reed (10-1) will play host to Douglas (6-4) in one semifinal. The Raiders traveled to Minden the second week of the season and routed the Tigers, 53-16.
If the Raiders’ offense looks anything like it has the last month (averaging 59 points per game in the last four), that one will get ugly. Douglas has a strong running game, but it’s not nearly explosive enough to keep up with Reed – which does it through the air and on the ground.
The Tigers built a 24-0 halftime lead over Spanish Springs last week in the quarterfinals then did not score another point the rest of the way, winning 24-6. They’ll have to put a lot more than 24 points on the board Thursday night to steal an upset.
In the other semifinal, Reno (10-1) goes to Damonte Ranch (10-1). It will be the first matchup this year between the two teams as the Mustangs’ scary offense will line up against the Huskies’ stout defense.
Reno held Carson to just 10 points in the quarterfinals and is averaging just 17.3 points surrendered per game this year. Damonte averaged more than 47 points per game against its eight 4A North opponents this year.
Damonte sophomore quarterback Cade McNamara has put up obnoxious numbers year and will be a deciding factor. He’s completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,780 yards and 37 touchdowns compared with just eight interceptions.
If he has a big night, Reno may have trouble keeping up. While the Huskies’ offense is efficient, it’s not built to play keep up, or to come from behind.
Williams off to loud start for UConn women
The UConn women’s basketball team started what they hope will be the run at a fifth straight national title last week.
One of the players leading the way for the Huskies is Reed alum Gabby Williams, who is a junior for Geno Auriemma this year.
The Huskies played Indiana University in an exhibition last Tuesday and rolled, 111-39. Williams scored 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting with nine rebounds, six assists, five steals and three rebounds. UConn (1-0) officially started its season on Sunday with a 95-32 win over Pace University.
Williams was again strong, scoring a team-high 24 points (on 10-of-11 shooting) while pulling down 10 boards – in just 19 minutes.
In a surprise to some, UConn opened at No. 3 in the AP Preseason Poll, behind No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Baylor. However, the Huskies are No. 1 in the Coaches Poll.
The schedule gets drastically more difficult for Williams and Huskies on Monday at No. 12 Florida State.
Houston, he’s coming home
Reed football tends to grab a few headlines this time of year. Five straight regional titles will do that for a program.
The Raiders host Douglas on Thursday night in the 4A North semifinals and there will also be a taste of Reed football on Saturday night at Mackay Stadium. Well, more than normal at least. A handful of ex-Raiders are on Nevada’s roster.
Returning to Northern Nevada will be 2015 Reed grad Parker Houston. Houston played tight end and defensive end for the Raiders and now is playing at San Diego State – which squares off against Nevada at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night
Houston started the year as a redshirt, but as he emerged up the depth chart in practice, coach Rocky Long had no choice but to burn the redshirt. The Reed product has played in five games, catching two passes for 19 yards in a run-heavy offense.
The Aztecs throw for just 141 yards a game, while averaging nearly 274 yards on the ground.
San Diego State sits atop the Mountain West – West at 8-1, 5-0. It is the first of three must-win games for Nevada (3-6, 1-4) if it’s to become bowl eligible.
Nathan can 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.