Reed football had only played for a state championship once during its 40-plus years of existence, two years ago, but that game was played in Reno. So Friday's road trip to the City of Sin to play for a state title was a first ever for the Raiders' program.
It was a tame trip. There were no bus breakdowns, like Henderson's Liberty High faced on its way to northern Nevada last weekend. There were no emergency illnesses or sicknesses to trip goers, just a smooth ride and a low-level of chatter.
Here's a short synopsis.
7:30 a.m. - The charters pulled out of Reed High at the height of traffic as Raiders students were swarming into the parking lot of the east Sparks school. Some student drivers were less than thoughtful about allowing the busses a clear right of way to make a fast getaway out of the Rail City. That brought on a few road rage comments, but nothing Reggie the bus driver couldn't handle.
Sound bite ... One Reed player declared "I didn't know there were any lakes that large in Nevada" as the bus cruised along the shores of a dwindling Walker Lake.
10 a.m. -A quick stop in Hawthorne followed the conclusion of the latest Superman movie 'Man of Steel.' Drinks and Gatorade were dispersed and RHS players didn't even exit the busses. Plus, the last of Coach Howren's doughnuts got polished off. It's surprising there were any still left more than two hours into the trek.
11:45 a.m. - Next up was the midway stop in Tonopah after a viewing of the always popular flick, 'The Waterboy.' Surely the viewing made some travelers wonder if Reed had an official water distribution engineer.
Sound bite ... From the back of the bus at one point you may have heard 'Bishop Gorman is the Devil,' much like the Waterboy's mama proclaimed many things to be.
Friday's cross-state pilgrimage may have been Reed's first to play for a state title, but it was easy to tell Coach Howren had organized a road trip or two. The busses stopped at the Burger King-mini mart-Subway and 70-plus piled out to use the facilities. When they returned, they stopped by the Chevy pickup bed, which doubled as a lunch assembly line. The travel party got back on the busses to eat lunch. The whole stop lasted just 15 minutes. Can you say efficient?
3:15 p.m. - Reed players and coaches poured off the busses ready to run. After being propped up on their respective bus all day, they got to work out at Indian Springs High School just north of Las Vegas.
After an hour and a half practice that probably got the blood flowing, the RHS gang got to run off some aggression, on a beautiful turf field at ISHS. That had to be frustrating for Reed players and coaches to see that even a D4 school boasted an impressive artificial surface while Reed's home field is so bad it's led the NIAA to strip it oh home playoff hosting rights.
4:50 p.m. - The busses were loaded up and hit the highway for the final 50-mile stretch and about an hour later the Raiders were seeing the sites in Clark County or at least the sites from their Hampton Inn hotel rooms.
A buffet dinner followed and a lights-out call came later. Reed (12-1) will find out soon enough if its road trip itinerary was a recipe for success. North region champion Reed and Sunset region champion Bishop Gorman (12-2) kick off their championship tilt at 1:05 p.m. in Las Vegas' Sam Boyd Stadium.