Here is a preview of this week’s games.
McQueen Lancers (2-4) at Spanish Springs Cougars (5-2), Friday 7:30 p.m.
•After being handed its first defeat of the season at the hands of a Nevada Northern Division I foe — a 34-20 loss to Reno last Friday — some could expect the Spanish Springs football team to be a bit down. However, the Cougs are not hanging their heads as they prepare for their showdown with McQueen.
“You never feel good about a loss but at the same time, in athletics, teams lose,” Spanish Springs coach Scott Hare said. “Half the teams in the country that played football last week from high school to college to the pros, half of them lost. I told the kids on Saturday that losses are normal. They’re like wins. I mean you want all the wins to pile up, but for the most part you don’t see a lot of teams go undefeated and you don’t see a lot of teams not win a game.
“Usually you’re going to get some losses on a good team during a couple games throughout the season and you have to bounce back from them. So far, they’ve bounced back well. It’s been business as usual and the kids are getting ready for their next opponent.”
In the process of getting back on the winning track, Hare said his team will need to get back to being physical in order to match the play of the Lancers, a team that is better than its record would indicate.
“They’re unbelievably physical. They play really physical football. They run the ball very well and they work to stop the run very well. That’s always been their mantra,” Hare said. “You start McQueen’s season over and this team could easily be 6-0 based on all the close games they’ve had.
“They’ve gotten snake bit a little bit on a couple little things and a couple things didn’t go their way and they turned the ball over in a couple situations where they really can’t afford to. I hope they do that this week. I hope they turn the ball over again this week, but there’s no guarantee in that and when they play straight up football this team could easily be 6-0. I don’t think they’re a team you want to play in the playoffs if you already beat them this year because they are more than capable of being the best team in the area.”
Considering the quality of opponent McQueen represents, Hare is sure the Purple and Silver will not be underestimating the Lancers.
“McQueen has been too good for too long. We’re not playing a team that is 2-4. We’re not trying to sell the game to our guys. I don’t need to sell McQueen,” Hare said. “There is no way our guys care about what McQueen’s record is because they’ve beaten us 11 out of 12 years we’ve played. We don’t have one kid on our team that is thinking this is going to be a walk over. This varsity football team, they haven’t beaten McQueen at any level so I don’t have to sell them on this game.”
North Valleys Panthers (1-5) at Reed Raiders (4-3), Friday 7:30 p.m.
•For the first time this season the Reed football team eclipsed the .500 mark. That
came following a 46-0 stomping of Hug. Despite the impressive victory, the Raiders will be looking to improve on many aspects of their game in their final home contest of the regular season.
“Offensively, we just have to start executing,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said. “Of all the positions on offense, everyone is guilty of doing something to affect our execution as a team. At some point, we have to have 11 guys on the same page. We’re averaging over 450 yards of offense a game, and I think that speaks volumes about the lack of execution that we have to finish drives. Obviously we can move the ball up and down the field, it’s just when we kill ourselves with a three-and-out numerous times over the course of a game or don’t finish, it shows the lack of execution that we do have, and that’s frustrating.
“I really feel like that breakout game is coming for our guys. I think that with the talent we have, the execution and play is going to match the athletic ability of our kids. I’m very excited to see that come here real soon.”
While Howren is waiting to see the full potential of his offense, he has liked what he has seen on the other side of the ball for Reed.
“Defensively, I just look forward to watching these guys improve,” Howren said. “These last few weeks we’ve continued to get better and better. We’re really understanding the game plan and executing. The part that has been the most impressive is the tackling. We went from having multiple broken tackles to just a couple here and there over the course of a game.”
The Blue and Gold will be counting on another strong effort from its defense against a North Valleys offense that can light up the scoreboard.
“The one thing we know about them is they can put some points on the board,” Howren said. “They’re real big on running a lot of offensive plays. They’re able to grind the clock a little bit and they’re able to hold on to the football for a time just because they’re a hurry-up, no huddle offense, so they are able to get a lot of plays in.”
South Tahoe Vikings (3-4) at Sparks Railroaders (0-7), Friday 7 p.m.
•So far this season it has been tough sledding for the Railroaders as they are still in search of their first victory. Despite the winless record, Sparks coach Rob Kittrell said he has seen some positives over the past weeks that his team can build on.
“Offensively a couple weeks ago against Fallon I thought we moved the ball really well,” Kittrell said. “Defensively against Lowry last week we did a really good job of playing assignment football. We’re trying to put those two things together this week.”
Looking to put together a sturdy game on both sides of the ball, the Maroon and Gold will have to execute its game plan in order to mark its first ‘W’ of the year against a Vikings team that is on a three-game winning streak.
“We’re going to have to run the ball against them. They’re very athletic and probably one of the few teams that matches up at the skill positions,” Kittrell said. “They have a very similar offense but their athletes are probably a little bit better than our athletes. They are definitely a much improved team from what they were last year.
“We are going to have to be ball control this week and keep the ball away from their offense. Their offense is very explosive. It kind of reminds me of old South Tahoe teams, where they have a tough little quarterback back there that is tough to bring down and when you do pressure him he finds a way to get out and usually by that time there’s an open receiver for a first down. The big key is to get up on them early and try to keep the ball out of their hands.”