Despite getting in just four full-contact padded practices and despite being forced indoors for workouts for more than a week during preseason camp, Reed went on the road to suburban Redding, Calif. Friday night, built a big lead and held on to knock off Norcal power Foothill, 38-28.
The non-league contest was originally scheduled to be played at Reed and serve as a return trip for Foothill after Reed played at the Palo Cedro, Calif. school's campus last fall. Reed gave up its home date and agreed to play at Foothill after the smoky skies over Sparks and Reno forced the NIAA to threaten and eventually prohibit any games from being played in the region.
Reed dominated from the start, building a 28-6 lead by midway through the third quarter before holding on for the 10-point triumph. Foothill needed a touchdown with 11 seconds remaining in the game to trim the final margin to 10 points and leave the scoreboard looking a little more respectable than it was.
"I told the kids (in postgame) it's a long season ahead, but in this very moment, I couldn't be more proud of them," Reed coach Ernie Howren said. "To only have four padded practices, I couldn't be happier. I felt like we grinded. We played a physical game. I thought our fronts, our offensive and defensive lines, set the tone of the game. Our offensive line was physical. By those guys playing physical, we got our running game going and that allowed everyone to get their timing down and get into a flow."
Reed got on the scoreboard first, taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Jordan Deleon. Reed led the rest of the way.
Foothill answered later in the first quarter but a botched extra point left Reed on top 7-6.
Reed grabbed the momentum from there and ran away with it.
The visiting Raiders posted a second quarter touchdown when Jake Lehmann hauled in a 17-yard pass from RHS quarterback Chris Denn for a touchdown. That made the score 14-6 and it remained that way into the intermission.
Reed tacked on two more touchdowns through the first six minutes of the third quarter. Wade Eiler snagged a 6-yard touchdown reception from Denn and Deleon galloped 21 yards for his second touchdown run of the night, forging Reed on top 28-6 with six minutes still left in the third.
Foothill tried to hang around. The host Cougars garnered their first touchdown since the first quarter to make the score 28-13, but Reed responded with a 20-yard Jesse Brock field goal, extending its edge to 31-13.
Foothill's offense began to show some life late in the game but it was too little too late. The Cougars' third touchdown came early in the fourth quarter, cutting the Reed lead to 31-21. However, the Reed offense was not done.
The Sparks school posted its final touchdown of the night when Denn hooked up with Trae Wells for a 55-yard pass-and-catch scoring combination. The big play pushed Reed's advantage back to three scores, 38-21, essentially nixing any hopes of a Foothill comeback.
Denn threw for 190 yards, finishing with the three touchdowns against one interception. Deleon rushed for 164 yards.
The win was the 100th career victory for Howren, who took over as the Raiders' coach in 2001. Reed has finished either first or second in the High Desert League every year since 2003.
"The most exciting thing about this win is it's our first of the season," the humble Howren said. "I'm proud of the kids and the way it happened. One hundred wins is cool but how they did it, that's what makes this special."
Reed (1-0) has a bye week next weekend before returning to action Sept. 13 at Douglas.