REED (2-2,0-0) AT CARSON (3-1, 0-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
OFFENSE: Reed has always been one of the most prolific offensive teams in northern Nevada, and this year is no exception. According to MaxPreps, the Raiders are averaging more than 450 yards per contest thanks to the passing of Mark Nowaczewski (1,194 yards passing), the receiving of Devin Gray (587 yards, 14 yards per catch) and the running of Ty Shepard (601 yards, 6 TDs). Brett Chaney and Marty Hargrove are big keys in the passing game. Carson coach Blair Roman said Nowaczewski reminds him of former RHS QB Tyler Pine. Carson's offense, coming off a 40-point effort against North Valleys, has a new face on that side of the ball. Matt Nolan is back from academic suspension and will see his first action of the year. Where he plays is anybody's guess, though he's capable of playing both wingback and wide receiver in addition to quarterback. Roman said this is the first time that he envisions a two-quarterback system at CHS. There are some things that both Garrett Schaefer and Nolan will bring to the table. Colby Brown had a breakout game running the ball last week, and Joey Thurman was impressive as a receiver. Everything will need to click for Carson to get the better of the Raiders on this side of the ball.
DEFENSE: Historically, Reed has had a lot of success defensively against the Senators even though the teams have split their last four meetings. A shutout last year (49-0 win), 20 points the year before (in a loss) and 14 points in 2008 (47-14 win). The Raiders have given up a lot of points against four good teams thus far. Roman has been impressed with Reed DL Jared Greenwald. Historically, Reed gets multiple defender to the ball quickly. Carson's defense was solid against the run in the win over North Valleys, and that will be key in containing the Raiders. Carson must also limit the yards after catches against the Raiders. Tackling in the open field will be critical. Carson has forced eight turnovers thus far, and winning the turnover battle is another key.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Casey Wolfe has been the mainstay with his kicking and punting. He's missed a couple of extra points, but nobody is perfect after all. Carson did return two kicks for scores last week, but both were called back because of penalties, Joey Thurman and Andrew Gutierrez are big return threats, and I suppose Nolan could be a good kick returner. The Senators need to pin Reed back deep in its own territory both with kick-offs and punts.
PREDICTION: I hate to pick against Carson, especially at home where it has enjoyed a lot of success. Coach Roman said he hasn't dwelled on last year's playoff loss, mentioning it just a couple of times. Right now, Reed is the class of Division I, and it's up to everybody else to disprove that theory. The good thing is that there is no pressure on either team because it's a non-league game. The real games don't start until next week.
The pick: Reed 32, Carson 21