Reed is making postseason football look awfully easy. Again.
The Raiders breezed past Douglas, 47-7, at home in Thursday night’s 4A North semifinal to advance to a sixth straight regional title game. Reed (11-1) has now outscored its two postseason opponents by a combined score of 116-25.
“It’s such a great feeling to be here,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said. “People (ask), ‘does it get old?’ And it does not. It’s awesome. The reason it’s so awesome, every year it’s a different class of guys. A different mix of guys that find their path to the regional championship and hopefully beyond.”
The Raiders’ junior quarterback, Cameron Emerson, was nearly perfect in Reed’s 11th straight win, completing 16-of-17 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for two touchdowns and 38 yards on just four carries.
His 47-yard touchdown pass to senior wide out Robert Ferrel down the seam with 6:11 left in the third extended the host’s lead to 47-7, enacting the running clock mercy rule.
“I just felt comfortable,” Emerson said. “There’s a lot of guys around me. They just make it completely easy. And the coaches do a great job of scouting, game planning, everything. All I have to do is know my job and execute and it makes it easy.”
Ferrel caught four passes for 86 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Douglas threatened to end the running clock (cut the deficit to less than 35) with a 14-play ensuing drive that took up nearly 10 minutes. The Tigers, who finished second in the Sierra League and ended the year 6-5, converted a fourth and two at Reed’s 4, but a dead ball personal foul pushed them back 15 years.
The Raiders then forced four straight incompletions to retain possession early in the fourth. With backups in, Reed marched past midfield before punting with 3:18 left. It was the Raiders’ first and only punt of the night.
They scored touchdowns on their first seven possessions, excluding holding onto the ball at the end of the first half.
Reed sprinted out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter. After a 24-yard touchdown pass from Emerson to Ferrel, and a 50-yard Tre Bussey touchdown run, Bussey scored his second touchdown of the first 12 minutes from nine yards out.
Bussey finished with 127 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
The lead ballooned to 33-0 on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Emerson to Grant Cotter and an eight-yard Emerson keeper, before Douglas managed its lone score going into the break.
Ryland DeSomber finished a 62-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run with just 48 seconds left in the half.
Emerson made the difference 40-7 on the third play of the second half with a 15-yard keeper up the middle.
Despite taking a double-digit winning streak to next week’s regional title game, winning the last five by an average score of 56-16, Howren said he does not think his team is at its peak.
“I’m not sure we’ve played our best football,” he said. “We got some things to really clean up, which I guess is a good thing because I don’t want to be playing our best football until the end of the season.”
Now one win from a sixth straight regional title, and a seventh in eight years, Reed will play Sierra League champion Damonte Ranch next Friday at McQueen for a spot in the state tournament.
The Mustangs (11-1) have also won 11 straight, beating Reno 21-6 in Thursday night’s other 4A North semifinal.
Damonte may be the only team in the region with an offensive explosive enough to keep up with Reed’s. The Mustangs are averaging 41 points a game.
“They’re a good team. I’m excited to play them,” Emerson said. “I’m excited to show them our speed and who we are.”