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All-time Northern Nevada high school football team (special teams)

Clint Stitser
Clint Stitser starred at McQueen High and Fresno State before reaching the NFL. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Last week would have marked the start of the high school football season, but fall sports have been pushed to March due to COVID-19. As a result, we won't get to cover high school football in the coming months, but I have substituted that lack of coverage with this piece: a look at Northern Nevada's all-time high school football team. Previously, we looked at the area's all-offensive team and all-defensive team. Today, we look at special teams. Of note: Each player's entire playing career was considered, so high school stars who didn't play in college didn't have much of a chance to make the list. And making it to the NFL also was weighed in the decision-making process.

Northern Nevada's all-prep football special teams

K: Clint Stitser, McQueen: Reno has produced three NFL kickers, Stitser the best among them. He was a two-time All-American at McQueen, where he won two state championships and also played strong safety (his 57-yard field goal in a state semifinal was the second-longest in Nevada history at the time). Stitser was a two-year starter at Fresno State, where he made 71 percent of his kicks. He signed deals with four NFL teams and played one season in the league, making 7-of-8 field goals for the Bengals in 2010. Backup: Dirk Borgognone, Reno

P: Jim de Arrieta, Lowry: A 1966 graduate of Lowry, de Arrieta was a 10-time letterwinner who excelled in football, basketball and track and field. He was an all-state quarterback and all-state basketball player. He also was the conference record-holder in the shot put. After high school, de Arrieta went to Notre Dame as a four-year scholarship honoree and a member of the Irish's 1966 national championship team under legendary coach Ara Parseghian. De Arrieta was Notre Dame's starting punter from 1968-69. Backup: Derek Jones, McQueen

Kick returner: Chris Carr, McQueen: Carr is our only honoree to make the first team twice, also doing so at defensive back, and he's arguably the best high school running back in Northern Nevada history on prep career alone. He warrants a spot at kick returner, too. (Here's an insightful column I wrote on Carr when he retired in 2014). Carr was an excellent return man at all three levels of football. At Boise State, he averaged 25.9 yards per kick return and 19.8 yards per punt return with three touchdowns. In the NFL, he averaged 24.5 yards per kick return. He twice led the NFL in kick return yards and ranks 16th in NFL history in that category. Backup: Del Bates, Reed

Punt returner: JoJo Townsell, Hug: Reno's Josh Barrett could fill this void if we considered only high school impact because he had seven special teams return touchdowns during his senior season and four via interceptions. But he didn't do returns post-high school whereas Townsell excelled here in high school, college and the NFL. At UCLA, he averaged 23.5 yards per kick return with one touchdown. In the NFL, Townsell averaged 10.7 yards per punt return with two touchdowns and 20.9 yards per kickoff return with another score. He ranked top eight in punt return yards in three NFL seasons. Backup: Josh Barrett, Reno

LS: Wes Farnsworth, Bishop Manogue: We can't forget the long snapper, and nobody from Northern Nevada has done it better than Farnsworth, the Bishop Manogue graduate who was also a running back and linebacker for the Miners. A five-star recruit for his position, Farnsworth turned down a number of high-level Power 5 offers to play for Nevada where he started for four seasons and was an All-American. Farnsworth has signed contracts with two NFL teams (Miami, Denver) and is currently on the Broncos' roster. Backup: Parker Houston, Reed


Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at crmurray@sbgtv.com or follow him on Twitter @ByChrisMurray.


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