The law of averages is as consistent as my ability to snap hook the first tee shot of the day. The founder of the breakfast ball is all of us.
So, it came as little surprise that after correctly predicting how the seasons would end for the Reed, Spanish Springs and Sparks football teams in 2014 and 2015, I regressed to the mean in 2016.
A .333 batting average would put me in the Cooperstown, had I chosen a slightly different career path. But in this column, a .333 average gets me Tweets that read something along the lines of, ‘You’re an idiot.’
I said Reed would lose multiple regular season games. Off with his head!
The Raiders did lose their season opener at Clayton Valley Charter. Then they made it personal and piled up 11 straight victories, eventually falling to Damonte Ranch in the best prep football game I’ve covered.
I said Spanish Springs would finish third in the High Desert League. Who’s the idiot now?
Alright, it wasn’t exactly a reach. The Cougars essentially just needed to beat the Lancers at McQueen and hold serve against North Valleys and Hug to grab the third spot. That’s what they did. Not without drama though. It took an interception at the goal line on the final play of regulation at McQueen, and a miraculous comeback at North Valleys.
I said Sparks would make the playoffs. Alright fine, I’m the idiot.
The expanded playoff (from four to six teams) wasn’t enough to get me over .500 as injuries and a crushing overtime loss at Elko sunk the Railroaders’ aspirations.
With tears now shed over last year’s spilt dairy, here we go again.
1. Reed will win the regional title
Feel that? Those are the collective rumblings from south Reno.
Reed and Damonte Ranch may as well enter the year as the co-favorites, even though seven of the 11 4A North coaches picked the Mustangs to defend their title. Most cited quarterback and Notre Dame commit, Cade McNamara, for their selection. Who wouldn’t? He engineered last year’s comeback of the Raiders and he was only a sophomore.
The Raiders have a pretty good quarterback themselves in senior Cameron Emerson.
Both squads lost a good chunk of talent. Both return a decent amount as well. One team had to think about blowing a 31-7 lead in the regional title game all offseason. One team didn’t.
I don’t mind being wrong here (and I very well could be), so long as we get a rematch in November.
2. Spanish Springs will finish fourth in the High Desert League
As mentioned in the pity party portion of the column, this one will realistically be decided when Spanish Springs and McQueen go head-to-head. And once again they play early, in the first week of league play on Sept. 29 at Spanish Springs.
Yes, the Cougars will be at home, but how many false starts in high school are caused by crowd noise? Home field has a marginal impact at best in high school.
McQueen has a bigger front this year and intends to run the ball more than it did a season ago. Meanwhile, Spanish Springs remains on the smaller side up front and will be susceptible on the ground.
3. Sparks will win most league games in nearly a decade
Sparks hasn’t won more than two league games since 2008 when it finished 3-3. The Railroaders will at least match that total this year.
Brad Rose has pumped fresh hope into the program and the offense will open up. Of the four games Sparks has the best shot at winning (Dayton, Elko, Lowry and Wooster), three will be at home. Only the Dayton game will be on the road.
I know I just said home-field advantage has a minimal impact in high school football, but it’s a little different in the 3A North with long bus rides. Especially considering the 300-mile trek to Elko/Spring Creek.
Nathan can be reached via email at email@example.com or 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 Wednesday morning. Nathan’s weekly radio show airs Fridays at noon on ESPN Radio 94.5 FM.