After scoring the first 21 points of the game, Reed (5-0) watched McQueen (3-2) respond with 17 straight points of its own. The host Raiders made sure that's as good as it got for the Lancers, posting the final two touchdowns of the game and capturing the key High Desert League triumph.
McQueen, which had already scored the last two touchdowns of the first half to close within 21-14, took possession first after halftime. McQueen used up more than six minutes of clock and drove all the way to the Reed 1-yard line before it turned the ball over on downs. There were four penalties on the fourth-down play, two by each team, before Reed got the stop of what could've been a game-tying touchdown.
The Raiders were not out of the woods. Reed's Chris Denn fumbled on a QB keeper inside the Raiders 10, setting McQueen up with prime field position again. This time, the RHS defense limited McQueen to a 24-yard Landon Burnley field goal.
"That stuff happens. You're going to fumble and make bad plays sometimes," Reed coach Ernie Howren said. "But I told them 'we will not put our heads down. We had better stay focused in this game. we're going to get the ball again.'"
The Lancers had trimmed Reed's lead to 21-17 at the 3:31 mark of the third quarter but they got no closer.
"I thought when we did the things we were supposed to do, we played really well," Reed safety Austin Warner said. "Their quarterback (Delon Buncio) is a good runner. We wanted to contain him and (running back Lucas) Weber is a big part of their offense and we wanted to stop him."
Mission accomplished. Neither Lancers player had a rushing touchdown.
Reed needed just over two minutes to capitalize on the momentum created by its defense. Denn hooked up with Jake Lehmann over the middle for a 28-yard pass-and-catch scoring combination that forged the east Sparks school ahead 28-17 with 1:04 to go in the third.
McQueen was unable to mount another scoring drive and Reed put the nail in the Lancers' coffin by tacking on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jordan de Leon with just over two minutes left in the game.
"The momentum in the game shifted back and forth," Howren said. "It's a credit to both teams. When you lose it, you have to fight to get it back."
De Leon finished with 95 rushing yards on 18 carries. Denn ran for 77 yards on the ground on 14 carries. Denn also threw for 199 yards, completing 19-of-30 passes. Trae Wells was the Raiders' leading receiver with 94 yards on eight receptions.
Reed dominated the first quarter and a half of action, but it let McQueen back in the game by halftime.
McQueen looked like it might get its doors blown off after Reed pushed its lead to 21-0 on a 4-yard TD pass from Denn to Wells with 7:07 remaining in the first half.
"Reed was pretty much able to do whatever it wanted offensively early on," fifth-year McQueen coach Jim Snelling said. "And we left some big plays out on the field. You can't do that against a good team.
The Lancers showed they had plenty of fight left when they got back in the game on the following possession. Patrick Deleon found some running room and ran away from the Reed defense for a 54-yard touchdown run. That got the MHS gridders within 21-7 with 6:17 still showing on the second quarter clock.
Reed fumbled the ensuing kickoff and McQueen got set up at the Raiders' 28. The northwest Reno school cashed in on the short field. It posted its second touchdown in less than four minutes on a 5-yard scoring scamper by fullback Kalaneti Peni with 2:39 left before the intermission. That accounting for the one-score margin at the break.
The host Raiders scored on their first two drives of the game and built a 14-0 lead less than eight minutes into the conference clash. A pair of 1-yard de Leon touchdown dives made up those scores.
Reed fumbled on its third possession, but the Raiders' defense held and gave its offense the ball back. The RHS crew went right back to work, posting the Denn to Wells score, building its early three-touchdown advantage.
Reed is in action again next Friday when it plays at Hug at 7 p.m.