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
Ranking last week: 1
Record: 9-0, 4-0
This week: vs. Galena (on Thursday)
In short: Damonte Ranch smacked Douglas, 71-14, marking its fourth straight game with at least 63 points. The Mustangs ran only 35 plays, with 10 of them going for touchdowns. QB Cade McNamara was 8-of-14 for 205 yards and threw four scores. Damonte Ranch also moved into the No. 1 ranking in Nevada on MaxPreps’ state rankings (No. 188 in the nation). Given Bishop Gorman’s decade of dominance, that hasn’t happened in a long time. Are the Mustangs the new favorite to win the state crown?
2. Bishop Manogue
Ranking last week: 2
Record: 6-3, 3-1
This week: vs. Wooster (on Thursday)
In short: Bishop Manogue took down Galena, 47-7, behind QB Drew Scolari (16-of-22, 297 yards, three TDs) and RB Peyton Dixon (12 rushes for 145 yards, four TDs). The gap between Damonte Ranch and Bishop Manogue appears huge, though. The Miners are ninth in MaxPreps’ state rankings and already dropped a 63-28 decision to the Mustangs, so it will take something just short of a miracle for a North team to top Damonte Ranch this year.
3. Spanish Springs
Ranking last week: 4
Record: 6-3, 3-0
This week: at Reed (on Thursday)
In short: Spanish Springs picked up a big home win against Reno and is now one victory shy of winning the High Desert League. That test will come at rival Reed in the game of the week. Spanish Springs is 0-15 against Reed since the Cougars’ took a 36-35 win over the Raiders in 2004, but they enter this game as slight favorites. The Cougars are on a five-game winning streak after starting the season 1-3, but can it finally top the Raiders?
Ranking last week: 3
Record: 5-3, 2-1
This week: vs. McQueen (on Thursday)
In short: In a key High Desert matchup, Reno fell to Spanish Springs, 29-15. The Huskies’ strong defense held up well, limiting the Cougars to 259 total yards, but Reno’s four offensive turnovers, including three interceptions thrown, sabotaged the team’s chances of winning. The Huskies end the regular season with a game at McQueen, which is ostensibly sixth in these rankings.
Ranking last week: 5
Record: 5-3, 2-1
This week: vs. Spanish Springs
In short: Reed was on a bye last week and will host rival Spanish Springs this week. Reed has utterly dominated the series with Spanish Springs, routinely winning by 30-plus points over the last decade, but is a home underdog in this one. The Raiders had a five-game winning streak snapped its last time out, a 21-3 loss to Reno, and could create a three-way tie atop the High Desert League with a win over Spanish Springs (and a Huskies victory over McQueen).
Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MurrayNSN.