Our Friday Night Rivals Game of the Week takes us to Foster Field for a matchup between the Reno Huskies and Spanish Springs Cougars. This comes after Nevada Sports Net was originally scheduled to televise Douglas at Damonte Ranch, but due to a positive COVID-19 test within the Tigers program, that game has been moved back a day.
The Huskies are coming off a victory against Sparks last week while Spanish Springs narrowly lost to McQueen. The Cougars are looking for their first win of the season.
"The biggest message has been fixing ourselves and getting the guys to understand that if we do what we're supposed to be doing and if they beat us in that regard than so be it," Spanish Springs head coach Rob Hummel said. "But we've been getting beat the last couple weeks when we're not doing our jobs, when we're not executing on offense, we're missing tackles, we're missing assignments on defense, not taking advantage of some opportunities on special teams, just all of those things that get you beat, and that's been the emphasis from Saturday morning of this week until now."
Last week, Spanish Springs had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds before an interception by McQueen's Gavin Flak in the red zone sealed the Cougars' 26-20 loss to the Lancers, who scored the go-ahead touchdown with only 52 seconds remaining.
"We know that if we execute better, and not make as many mistakes, we probably wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place," Hummel said. "But when you give a good football team the opportunity to take advantage of some mistakes, they eventually did that throughout that game, and that's where you end up. So the guys understand, we made it very clear to them after the game on Friday night, that it's not OK to turn the ball over six times, it's not OK to miss assignments, and I think you're going to get a different result come Friday night."
Reno's first-year head coach, Jason Ehlen, was pleased with his team's performance last week against Sparks, a 49-12 victory, and credits his senior leaders who are helping lead the way along with some juniors and a sophomore, during this unusual season.
"Leadership doesn't just magically happen," Ehlen said. "I think a lot of time as coaches we're guilty that we figure kids are going to know how to lead or why to lead, and that doesn't always happen naturally. So I think our coaches are doing a good job of prompting kids and helping them build those skills, but I feel very fortunate to have the senior class that we do. They're hungry. I think they do want to lead. I think they want to get better each week, having a group of kids that are bought in is awesome."
Ehlen said one of the biggest challenges is how quickly everything ramped up after getting the green light to play from Gov. Steve Sisolak, but he credits the Reno High administration for helping through this process to help make this season possible.
"I think the challenge of just rolling things out and getting going knowing how fast it's going to move to get going and really how quickly it's going to be over, and we're living kind of week to week with our COVID testing," he said. "There's lot of people working together to make this happen each week for our boys, and I'm blessed for that."
With just three regular-season games remaining, Ehlen knows his team will have a tough test on Friday as the Huskies play their first 5A league game of the year.
"They're real physical up front" Ehlen said of Spanish Springs. "A lot of big bodies, a lot of guys returning with some experience from last year. I thought their defense last year was absolutely amazing. They had some studs, and some of those studs are still there. We know we have a tough game on our hands, and we're really excited to play those guys this week. I hope it just brings a lot of excitement to our community and to theirs. Tt's great to be playing high school football again."
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. on Friday on NSN and will also be available via stream on NSN's watch tab.
Full prep football schedule
Friday: Bishop Manogue at Carson (6 p.m.); South Tahoe at North Valleys (6 p.m.); McQueen at Galena (6 p.m.); Sparks at Hug (6 p.m.); Spanish Springs at Reno (6 p.m.)
Saturday: Douglas at Damonte Ranch (4 p.m. pending Tigers' COVID-19 results); Fernley at Lowry (3 p.m.); Churchill County at Elko (3 p.m.); Incline at Coral Academy of Science (5:30 p.m.); Yerington at Battle Mountain (7 p.m.); Sutter at Truckee (7 p.m.)