Reed and Carson in the Division I regional football championship game. It’s almost become an annual tradition.
The rivals will tee it up for the third time in four years Saturday at 1:05 p.m. (Channel 21) at Bishop Manogue High School, and the 9-2 Senators are hoping the third time is a charm.
In 2011, Reed won 49-0 at Mackay Stadium. In 2013, the Raiders won a 47-39 thriller at Damonte Ranch. The winner of this one meets, most likely, Bishop Gorman Saturday Dec. 6 at noon at Damonte Ranch High School for the state title.
“It’s no surprise to me,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said. “They are a good football team.
“They have so many offensive weapons. Their quarterback (Joe Nelson) with the passing game, Asa Carter and then you have (Colby) Brown. When we played them (in 2011) we focused on stopping (Dylan) Sawyers. Carson, on film, plays real fast.”
Carter is coming off a 200-yard effort against Reno, while Brown almost reached the century mark. Nelson completed his first eight passes and finished with 146 yards passing.
Carson has had as much success as any Northern Nevada team against the Raiders. Carson has beaten Reed three times since Roman took over in 2008, and two of those wins were in the regular season. He knows his red-hot defense, led by Nolan Shine, Brady Rivera and Carter will be pushed to the limit.
“Reed is a good team,” Roman said. “In terms of scoring points, they are the best team we’ve seen since Clayton Valley. They might be the best team we’ve played since Clayton Valley. They do what they do. They spread you out. They do a good job of keeping defenses off balance.
“The key defensively is not giving up cheap touchdowns. When we had success, we didn’t allow cheap touchdowns. We have to be disciplined.”
Especially in defending the read option run so well by Matt Denn, who has run for 951 yards and 17 scores, including three last week against Hug. He has also passed for 1,641 yards and 17 scores. Jorden Carter has rushed for 1,357 yards and 16 scores. Grayson Young caught 46 passes for 679 yards and seven scores, but is not expected to play.
“Hug didn’t do a very good job against the read option,” cornerback-wide receiver Dilyn Rooker said. “I think we’ll play it better than Hug.”
The responsibilities for stopping the option play rest heavily on defensive ends Rivera and Ian Schulz. Shine and Ikela Lewis will also be involved.
“Denn is the key to everything they do,” Roman said. “All four of those guys (2 linebackers, two defensive ends) have to defend the edge. We can’t let the quarterback slip out the back side.
“Carter is not as big or powerful as DeLeon was last year, but he has a big heart and speed. He keeps those legs moving.”
And that’s the key to keeping a drive and run alive.
Howren said this wek would be spent fine-tuning things.
“We made numerous mistakes,” Howren said. “Some of the credit goes to Hug. They play so fast that they forced some of our mistakes. We have to clean up our ball security and blocking schemes.”
Both teams have played well defensvely this season, though Reed has given up more points than it usually does at this stage of the season.
“The strength of this team is defense,” Howren said. “Defense is why we’re here. You have two real good defensive teams in this game.”
And, Carson wants revenge. In fact, the Senators have been waiting for the Raiders for a year.
“We’ve beaten them before,” Roman said. “Reed might be better than us, but we’re not going to be intimidated.”