Dynasty. Merriam-Webster defines it as: “A family of rulers who rule over a country for a long period of time.”
Topping Carson 47-39 at Damonte Ranch, Friday night in the DI North title football game, the 2013 Reed Raiders football family joined its 2009, 2011 and 2012 families who also ruled (won region titles) over their country (northern Nevada).
The Reed football program is a dynasty.
Dynasties are not built looking years in advance however. They are built one year at a time.
“It feels as good as the first time,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said. “We told the kids way back on whatever it was, Aug. 13. That first day, we said ‘this isn’t about some streak that is going on. This is all about the 2013 season and putting your mark on our history.’ And they did that.”
Facing a third-and-13 from the Reed 27, trailing by eight, with 1:37 left, Carson’s quarterback Garrett Schafer rolled to his right and hit a wide-open man in the end zone: Reed's Sean Lancaster.
Lancaster returned his second interception of the season (first was last week against Galena in semis) to near midfield where the Raiders picked up the one first down they needed to melt the time off the clock on a frigid night and secure the North crown.
It was Carson’s only drive in the second half that didn’t result in a touchdown.
“You just keep going out and staying the course and keep doing what you do, hoping somebody is going to make that play,” Howren said. “It was the one thing I thought we didn’t do enough of: getting somebody to come in and make a play for us. Fortunately, Sean Lancaster comes up with a huge interception.”
Reed quarterback Chris Denn was limited to 95 passing yards, completing 6-of-12 passes. Carson did not erase the Raiders’ offensive attack, however. The Raiders’ rushing attack was a force.
Said the Carson coaching staff: “They ran the sh-- out of it.”
Led by senior bowling ball Jordan de Leon and a dominating offensive line, Reed moved the chains at will. The Raiders didn’t need to go to the air.
Reed’s beast finished with 187 yards and 3 touchdowns on 33 carries.
“They’re a bunch of great players. That’s really the only way to say it,” Denn said of his offensive line.
Denn picked up 156 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, carrying the frozen rock of a football 19 times.
“Offensively, (we) definitely (asserted ourselves). We just came in and did what we have been doing all season, just the philosophy of running the football,” junior offensive lineman Cody DeHaan said. “(Jordan) de Leon has been running the ball like a man the past couple weeks.”
de Leon has run the ball for 687 yards and 12 touchdowns in the Raiders’ three playoff wins.
Carson missed a 26-yard field goal attempt on the opening drive of the game before the Raiders marched 80 yards on eight plays to jump in front 7-0 on Jorden Carter’s 12-yard touchdown run.
Next, Reed muffed a punt catch after forcing a three-and-out, leading to a 3-yard Nevin Elliott touchdown run – one of his two on the night. Denn and de Leon fumbled the handoff on a fourth-down play on the next drive, leading to a 24-yard Cody Cunningham field goal to give Carson its first, and only, lead of the game at 10-7, midway through the second quarter.
The Raiders took the lead for good 1:52 later on a 13-yard de Leon touchdown scamper.
Following a Carson safety (punter’s knee touched in the end zone fielding low snap) and de Leon’s second appearance in the end zone, Carson marched 81 yards in 2:07 to close the gap to 23-17 with 27 seconds left in the half. The drive was capped with a 7-yard toss from Schafer to Alan Cohen.
After Carson’s kickoff went out of bounds, de Leon picked up 18 yards, Denn ate up 36 yards on two carries and Jesse Brock drilled a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the half to extend Reed’s lead to 26-17.
“To come away with points right there I thought was a huge lift to us as a team,” Howren said.
The Raiders’ and Senators’ offenses both scored three consecutive touchdowns to open the second half before Reed’s lone punt of the game with 4:19 remaining set the stage for Lancaster’s game-winning interception.
Reed’s lead never shrunk below eight in the second half.
The Raiders now shift their attention to the state playoff bracket where they will host Liberty (Sunrise Region champions) Saturday at 1 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
The location of the game is subject to change.
“The approach is the same as it is every week,” Howren said. “Enjoy this for about three more hours and the focus now needs to be on a state semifinal.”