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High school football power rankings: A new team surges to the top spot

High school football power rankings
High school football power rankings for Week 3. (Graphic by Jenna Holland/NSN)

Week 3 of the high school football season will hopefully bring some semblance of normalcy after the first two weeks of the year were ravaged by cancelations due to poor air quality and COVID-19 issues. In fact, only three of the Northern 5A's nine teams have won a game this year, and only two schools have played contests in Week 1 and Week 2. Here are this week's large-class high school football power rankings entering Week 3.

5A high school power rankings

1. McQueen (1-0, last week 2): After its season opener against Spring Creek, McQueen was forced to hit the road last week to play Shasta (Calif.) High in a game originally scheduled in Reno (air quality forced the move). The Lancers had no issues with the change, winning 49-6 and rushing for 307 yards and six touchdowns on 34 carries (9.0 yards per attempt). Nebraska-bound Ashton Hayes ran 14 times for 129 yards and four scores. McQueen's offensive line, an issue last year, seems to be much improved. McQueen visits Douglas this week.

2. Damonte Ranch (0-1, last week 1): Damonte Ranch was scheduled to host Central (Fresno) High last week before the game was moved to Fresno. In a last-second change, Damonte Ranch ended up playing Clovis West, which went 0-4 last season and is ranked 134th in the state of California this year (Shasta, comparatively, is ranked No. 347). Damonte Ranch lost to Clovis West, 28-6, with freshman quarterback Joey Jamison going 10-of-21 for 61 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Damonte Ranch looks to rebound with a game at Faith Lutheran in Southern Nevada this week.

3. Spanish Springs (1-1, last week 6): Spanish Springs rebounded from a season-opening loss to Liberty High (Bakersfield, Calif.), by edging Reno, 21-10, in a non-league game. The Cougars, the most pass-happy team in the Northern 5A, had a lot of success through the air. Quarterback JJ Dain completed 15-of-21 passes for 301 yards, better than 20 yards per completion. Tight end Trace Patterson caught five balls for 150 yards and two touchdowns (on his 18th birthday). Spanish Springs plays at Oakdale (Calif.) this week.

4. Bishop Manogue (0-1, last week 3): Bishop Manogue was unable to play at Bishop Gorman last week due to poor air quality canceling practices. The Miners, who lost to Bingham (Utah), 45-0, in its season opener, will look to get in the win column when it hosts Reed this week. That should be a fun matchup considering Manogue coach Ernie Howren led the Raiders to seven regional championship before taking the Miners' job in 2017. The Reed-Bishop Manogue matchup is the top game of the week in the region.

5. Reed (0-0, last week 4): Reed is entering the third week of the season still looking to play its first game. Its opener against Wooster High was spoiled by COVID protocols; poor air quality canceled its week two game with Churchill County. Garrett Hughes' group must be champing at the bit to get on the field. The Raiders return a nice cast of players led by quarterback Armaan Barjwa, who started last season, and standout two-ways players OL/DL Matty Lopez and WR/S Elijah Acklin. Reed faces Manogue this week. The Raiders' last game of the spring season was against Manogue, a 45-29 Raiders win.

6. Reno (1-1, last week 5): After opening the season with a 42-18 win over 3A powerhouse Churchill County, Reno dropped its 5A opener to Spanish Springs, 21-10, in a non-league game. The Huskies out-played the Cougars in the first half but entered intermission tied at seven. Spanish Springs scored a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter, and Reno couldn't muster anything on offense after the break, scoring only one field in the second half, that coming after recovering an onside kick on the first play of the third quarter. Reno plays at Carson this week.

7. Douglas (0-1, last week 7): Douglas was idle last week after its game against Center High in Antelope, Calif., was canceled due to wildfire smoke. That came after a season-opening 24-6 loss at Lowry, a 3A team. The Tigers, under the direction of first-year coach Kyle Mays, play their first 5A opponent of the season this week when they host McQueen. Those two teams were scheduled to play each other in the spring as part of the bowl schedule, but the game was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols.

8. Carson (0-0, last week 8): Carson's quest to find a game last week didn't result in any action, so the Senators were idle. Carson's season opener against Sparks was ruled a no contest after being canceled in the first half due to poor air quality (the Senators were up 23-6 at the time). Carson returns to action this week against Reno, a team the Senators lost to 48-13 in the spring season finale. Carson will get a chance to show how much it has improved over the last several months.

9. Galena (0-1, last week 9): After its season opener against South Tahoe was canceled due to COVID-19 issues, Galena opened the campaign last week, losing to Lowry, 29-13 (give it up for the Buckaroos, who are 2-0 against the Northern 5A this season). The Grizzlies scored only six points in four games in the spring season, so tallying 13 points on offense was a good sign despite the loss. Galena didn't get much going on the ground, rushing for only 16 yards on 23 carries, but quarterback Ben Primka threw for 226 yards. The big issue was the team's four turnovers. Galena plays at North Valleys, another 3A team, this week.

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

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