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Cougars, Raiders set for playoff openers
by Dan Eckles
Oct 31, 2012 | 2997 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo - Jeff Jurgensmeier will lead his Spanish Springs teammates into a regional playoff game at Manogue Friday night.
Tribune file photo - Jeff Jurgensmeier will lead his Spanish Springs teammates into a regional playoff game at Manogue Friday night.
Tribune file photo - Reed football coach Ernie Howren pats his senior QB, Mark Nowaczewski, on the helmet after a big play in last weekend's win at Spanish Springs.
Tribune file photo - Reed football coach Ernie Howren pats his senior QB, Mark Nowaczewski, on the helmet after a big play in last weekend's win at Spanish Springs.
The Bishop Manogue Miners are hoping they don't end the season the way they started it. Manogue kicked off its fall campaign at Spanish Springs and was handed a 58-21 shellacking. Ten weeks later, the Miners will host Spanish Springs in a first-round Division I Northern Region playoff.

Friday's Manogue-Spanish Springs tilt is set to begin at 7 p.m. at BMHS.

"I really don't think we can take anything from that first game," Spanish Springs coach Scott Hare said. "It's just so long ago. They've moved so many guys around and who aren't playing in the spots they're playing in now. They had four turnovers that game. We both returned kickoffs. That's probably stuff that won't happen again in Week 11."

Manogue (4-5, 3-1) earned the right to host the game after capturing the Sierra League's No.2 seed. Spanish Springs (7-3, 3-2) is the High Desert League's No. 3 seed. Still, it would seem as though Manogue faces a stiff test. Neither Galena nor Manogue, the SL's top two seeds, beat any of the HDL's four playoff teams _ Reed, Reno, Spanish Springs and McQueen.

Manogue started its season 1-3, but rebounded when it reached league play, winning three of its four conference clashes. However, with league play concluded and a week left in the regular season, the Miners wrapped up their season with a non-league affair, against an HDL opponent. The result was another loss, 23-20 to Reno.

"They've definitely gotten better," Spanish Springs coach Scott Hare said. "They've defined a little bit more of who they want to be. Their guy has thrown for quite a few touchdowns. They will throw the ball. I think that they're probably one of the most improved teams in the area, watching film from start to finish. You must play who is in front of you at the time. They played the teams they played and have gotten better."

The Miners defense will need to be at its best Friday. Manogue gave up an average of 33.3 points a game and the 58 it allowed to Spanish Springs were the most any opponent hung on it this season. Additionally, Spanish Springs torched foes for more than 40 points per contest.

Still, the Cougars offense stalled last week. It was limited to just 14 points in a 47-14 loss to Reed last week. The Cougars did rack up some yardage but could not put many points on the board.

"I feel like we should be able to move the ball anybody we play," Hare said. "I feel pretty good about that part of it. Even against Reed, we did move the ball. They just got stout in the red zone. We do need to come away with points. We must get in the end zone."

Spanish Springs had a chance to win a league title for the first time in program history going into last week's regular season final against Reed. So after getting handed a lopsided emotional loss on your home field by your arch rival, it would be easy to experience a losing hangover effect.

However, Hare said that won't happen.

"We've had a good few practices," Hare said. "We did a little more contact on Monday since we played Thursday. The kids responded well to that. Then Tuesday's practice was good, business as usual. We've bounced back well. It's weird, because of the weather, it doesn't quite feel like the playoffs. Usually the cold weather makes you feel like you better win. If you'd don't it's time to go inside and play winter sports.

"We've talked to the kids. We've never had a team win eight games here at Spanish Springs. We've got a chance to do that. We've never had team win a playoff game. We've got a chance to do that. We still have things at our fingertips that no team has done in school history. I think we'll be ready to play."

Douglas Tigers at Reed Raiders, Friday 7 p.m.

•The Douglas Tigers helped the Reed Raiders right their football ship earlier this season. Reed had opened its season 0-2 with both losses coming on the road to traditionally tough California schools. Then Reed (7-3, 5-0 HDL) got to come back to northern Nevada and face Douglas in Week 3.

Douglas (4-5, 1-3 SL) sat 2-0 at the time with quality wins over Reno and McQueen, but those meant little after Reed romped over the DHS crew 54-35.

"I think both teams have evolved," Reed coach Ernie Howren said. "Things have changed since then, but guys are guys. That part of it is the same. You can only scheme so many different things as the season progresses. Unless you're going from the spread to the wishbone, you're going to stay within your scheme. One thing I can tell you, the same guys are still lining up on both sides of the ball that part will stay the same.

"But you really can't take much away from that Week 3 game. Both teams' coaching staffs look at what they did in the first game. We're all looking to see what we can do differently. How will we attack this? You're going to see a different game this second time around."

You can bet Reed is happy to be playing at home this weekend. A scheduling quirk left Reed with only two of five league games at home and only one of three non-league games against northern Nevada foes at home. Then Reed schedule its two open dates on the road against northern California powers. So in end, Reed got to play just three of its 10 games on the friendly confines of its east Sparks campus. By the time kickoff rolls around Friday, it will have been nearly a month since the Raiders last played at home.

"We really try to talk about that if we want to win league and regional championships, we have to be road warriors," Howren said. "As a program, we pride ourselves on being on the road. If you're playing on the road every other week then you need to be pretty good. It is a bonus playing at home, but we don't feel like it's something you've got to have. Still, I just love it that our seniors get to play in front of their home crowd.

"I told them we need to earn a home playoff game. Now our goal is to earn another."

The Raiders are rolling, having won five straight games, the last four by 32 or more points each. Only twice has Reed been in a close game by the time the fourth quarter came around. Howren never likes to say his team is peaking.

"You know my standard answer," he said. "I hope I haven't seen our best football. I hope we keep playing better and better. I've gone back and watched film. There are still things we can do better, but I sure like the direction we're going. I'm pleased with our kids' effort."

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