The Raiders wrapped up their regular season last weekend with a win over cross-town rival Spanish Springs, a win that clinched the RHS gridders a third consecutive High Desert League championship.
Next up for Reed (8-1) is what Raiders players and coaches hope is a long postseason run. They start their playoff parade Friday night with a home regional quarterfinal matchup against Sierra League No. 4 seed Douglas (2-7) at 7 p.m.
While it may be playoff time, Reed coach Ernie Howren said there is no extra sense of urgency or special playoff atmosphere around his club as it prepares for Douglas.
"It's business as usual," Howren said. "You get to this point in the season and you don't change who you are. You attack every week like it's a championship game so when you get to this point, it doesn't feel any different. Our kids attitude has been awesome. They have been focused. They've had a 'been-there, done-that' attitude. This is just another week to get better and play football."
Reed and Douglas met earlier this fall, in a non-league game at Reed on Sept.. 13. The result of that contest was a 48-28 Reed romp. Howren knows teams improve over the course of a season, but he doesn't think Douglas will have changed its identity in the last two months.
"Teams don't change as much as people would think," Howren said. "You have to believe in what you practiced all spring and summer and then through double days. That's the type of team you expect to be. You will have to change things here and there due to personnel changes, but your overall philosophy and schemes stay the same."
Douglas coach Ernie Monfiletto might not whole heartedly disagree with Howren, but he knows his team must be much different/better in the second go-round between the two schools.
"We better be," the Tigers' second-year coach said. "I feel like we're playing our best football right now. If we have any opportunity, in that regard, right now is the time … I think we're a much better football team than we were in Week 3 and I think we've got a great task ahead of us with Reed."
Reed is averaging more than 47 points per game and has scored twice as many points this fall as its opponents, 428-209. Reed's talented offense racked up 349 yards through the air in the first meeting between the two schools.
"Reed's got a very potent offense," Monfiletto said. "If you shut one part of it down, you still have the other facet. Last time I thought we did a good job defending the run and they exposed us with the pass. We've got to make it a priority to defend both … By the same token, our offense needs to be productive, because for them, an off night is scoring less than 30."
Douglas managed just one league win — 26-16 over Manogue — in four chance and just one non-league win — 14-6 over Hug — in five tries. Still, Howren was quick to point out his team had better not be worried about anything except Douglas when Friday night rolls around.
"We told the kids, they really cannot be fooled by the fact Douglas has only two wins," Howren said. "They are a physical football team with a lot of speed. They have shot themselves in the foot at times and put themselves in some bad situations, but just look at the Carson game last week. They were up 13-0 at the half and lost in overtime. They are a good football tam that's had some bad breaks along the way."
Reed has prided itself over the past decade in building a program that believes in being physical first, blowing up opponents in the trenches, tackling hard and blocking harder. Howren said that philosophy must be no more evident than in the postseason.
"It all starts with the guys up front," the Raiders' skipper said. "You have to come off the football and set the tone as a physical football team. When you get to this point, you have to be playing physical football. You're going to see every team's best performance in the playoffs."
Monfiletto agreed Reed has built a reputation as a physically-dominant team, but he was quick to point out his team won't back down and he believes it's up to the challenge.
"Football is designed to be a physical sport," he said. "We've got to go out there and be physical and I think we are that kind of team.
"We have some opportunities to do some things and we have to believe that.
We can't go in thinking we're going to win a six or seven nothing ball game. We believe we have a game plan in place that will make us competitive. We have our hands full but obviously, it would be a great victory for our kids. We're going in with the attitude that we can do anything. We're looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity to play our best."