While most teams would be more than happy to score close to 40 points a contest, Reed wants more. It is not a case of being greedy though. The Raiders merely believe they have yet to meet their full potential.
Unfortunately for Reed’s cross-town rival Spanish Springs, the Blue and Gold took a step closer to putting together that complete game in the regular season finale Thursday night.
“We were looking to be very physical with them and hit them in the mouth first,” Reed wide receiver Devin Gray said. “We just wanted to execute our game plan the whole time.”
With the High Desert League title up for grabs, the Raiders did just that and rolled out their full arsenal of weapons, showcasing their firepower in a 47-14 victory.
Although the Raiders came into the showdown wanting to sustain drives, there was no need Thursday night as the Reed playmakers put drives away before the Cougars knew they had even started.
After the Raiders punted the ball away on their first possession, there was little Spanish Springs could do to stop Reed. The Raiders did not dink and dunk their way down the field, methodically chipping away at a Cougar defense that had allowed an average of 22.4 points a game to opposing offenses.
Instead, Reed hit home run after home run on big plays that sucked the life out of the Purple and Silver. Scores of 49 yards to Gray and 48 yards to Brett Chaney helped the Raiders build a 26-14 lead at the half before an 89-yard Gray kickoff return to start the second half put a dagger in the Cougs and a 42-yard TD catch-and-run by Ty Shepard put the final nail in the SSHS coffin.
“We had momentum going into the half and that just took the momentum and multiplied it by 20, by 50. It just really put us in a great spot,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said. “We maybe didn’t have a couple drives sustained like we would like to, but that’s what helps when you have guys like Ty, Devin and Mark (Nowaczewski) making those big plays for us. Otherwise, we probably would have been sustaining drives. We just had those guys step up and make some big plays for us.”
As the Raiders lit up the scoreboard, they also filled up the stat sheet. Nowaczewski totaled 228 yards through the air with four TDs, as well as 76 yards on the ground. Gray caught seven passes for 112 yards and a pair of TDs while Shepard tore up the turf with 162 yards rushing on 18 carries.
“Devin’s a dude man and thank god he’s on our team because he’s a special player and for him to step up like this in an important game like this, I think it speaks a lot about who he is,” Howren said. “As for Ty, he’s been consistently good all year long. Ty is by far the most consistent player in the league. He’s been plugging along. He’s averaging over eight yards a carry. He just understands that offense and trusts his offensive line.
“I’m so proud of the kids because early in the season we knew who we were, but people were questioning where we were at. We definitely had some growing pains, but we also knew we still had a lot of really good players. It was just fun to watch these guys just persevere through all that even though people were questioning who we were. It was pretty cool to watch.”
Although it has been fun to for Howren and the rest of Raider Nation to watch the Reed gridders pick up steam, the Raiders will now turn their attention to an entirely new season that starts next Friday.
“I hope this isn’t our best,” Howren said. “I hope we can keep getting better. I do think this is definitely an indication of what we’ve been striving for and why as coaches and players offensively we’ve been very frustrated for about six, seven weeks because we just knew this could happen.”
If this was not Reed’s best it will be an early winter break for its playoff opponents.