Each week, Nevada Sports Net’s Chris Murray will rank the top five Northern 4A football teams. Here are this week’s rankings, with each team’s overall record, its next opponent and a brief comment.
1. Damonte Ranch
This week: vs. Bishop Manogue
In short: Damonte Ranch is without Michigan-bound QB Cade McNamara and gets its toughest in-state test to date. The Mustangs beat Hug, 48-7, without McNamara last week with backup QB Ethan Kulpin literally being perfect. The sophomore was 10-of-10 for 155 yards and four touchdowns. Damonte Ranch will certainly miss McNamara against Bishop Manogue, but Kulpin appears suited for the spotlight, too.
2. Bishop Manogue
This week: at Damonte Ranch
In short: Bishop Manogue has a perfect opportunity to take next week's top spot in these rankings if it can go on the road and knock off a McNamara-less Damonte Ranch. The Miners have played three Northern Nevada teams this season are 3-0 while out-scoring its opposition, 128-21. This should be a run-heavy game as both teams will start sophomore quarterbacks with excellent running backs.
This week: vs. Reed
In short: McQueen is bulldozing teams, winning its last three games – against Wooster, Douglas and Reed – by a combined score of 151-7. The Lancers face a solid Reed team – that would rank sixth in these rankings if we went that deep – and will move up if it can beat the Raiders. Air Force-bound RB J.D. Kolb is five yards shy of the 1,000-yard barrier – on just 73 carries, with 16 of those resulting in touchdowns.
4. Spanish Springs
This week: Bye
In short: The last three spots in these rankings are interchangeable with Spanish Springs, Reno and Reed all capable of making arguments for those positions. Spanish Springs plays those other two teams in its final two regular-season games but gets a bye this week before a big showdown with McQueen. Sophomore QB Tristan Szabo leads the North in passing yards (1,327) and passing touchdowns (13).
This week: at Hug
In short: Reno goes to 0-4 Hug this week before a bye next week. It then closes the year with Reed, Spanish Springs and McQueen, three tough games that will dictate how the Huskies’ season goes. Reno ranks sixth in the North in total offense and sixth in total defense, so it’s been pretty average across the board to this point.
Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MurrayNSN.