Reed put all doubts to rest within one half of play at Reno High Friday night.
The Raiders proved there still is a gap between the Blue and Gold and everyone else as they outgained the host Huskies by nearly 200 yards in the first half, entering the locker room with a 21-0 lead at the break. They parlayed that three-touchdown lead into a 44-2 victory in the battle of the HDL unbeatens.
Reed has struggled maintaining offensive drives this fall, racking up plenty of yards, but not having the points to show for it.
After two holding penalties and a pair of fumbles helped stall Reed’s opening drive that went down to the Huskies’ red zone on 16 plays, it looked like that theme would continue. But after the Raiders' defense forced a turnover on downs, stuffing a run on fourth-and-short, the Raiders took over at midfield and accumulated 53 yards of offense on four plays, capping a scoring drive with a 5-yard touchdown run by Ty Shepard at the 2:53 mark of the first quarter.
The Huskies came up empty on their next possession, missing a 40-yard field goal.
Five plays later, Brett Chaney caught a swing pass, and a block freed him down the left sideline for a 57-yard touchdown. Chris Denn’s extra point made it 14-0 Reed with 7:33 to go in the first half.
The big plays, sparked by improved offensive line play, continued as Shepard went untouched for a 53-yard score with 2:59 remaining on the second-quarter clock.
“Consistency on the offensive line is something we’ve been talking to the kids about for three weeks,” Reed football coach Ernie Howren said. “I’m so proud of them because we’ve talked to them all week long about how we need them to step up. I really felt like they did. We really only had one drive stall and that was the first drive of the game, and that really came down to a penalty. It wasn‘t really on them. I’m really proud of those guys. They’ve been working hard all year. They never lost sight of what they can do, and I think that’s why where we’re at right now.”
Reno had a chance to put points on the scoreboard before the break. An unsportsmanlike penalty on Shepard’s run pushed the ensuing kickoff back 15 yards, and the Huskies started their drive on their own 49 with 2:53 to play.
Reno quarterback Chad Savage rumbled down to the 17 on a 26-yard keeper, setting the home team up in the red zone with plenty of time. However, with under 1:30 on the clock, Reno began to huddle before each play and the next two runs garnered a total of one yard. An incomplete pass forced Reno to try for a 32-yard field goal with 30 seconds left, and it was partially blocked, keeping the shutout intact at halftime.
Then, it was all Raiders after the break.
Following two separate three-and-outs by the defense to open the second half, Reed’s offense put 10 points on the scoreboard on a 60-yard touchdown run by quarterback Mark Nowaczewski and a 33-yard field goal by Denn, increasing the lead to 31-0, four minutes into the third quarter.
The two teams then traded interceptions. The Huskies couldn’t have set themselves up much better, returning the pick to the Reed 7. But the Raiders ‘D’ was impenetrable.
Reno got down to the 3, but back-to-back incompletions handed the ball back to the Raiders.
“You gotta love that. You gotta love that pride by the defense,” Howren said.
Reed then proceeded to trek 97 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was no good, leaving the visiting team with a 37-0 edge.
Reno’s offense was stuck in neutral in the second half. Savage was forced to throw more with the large deficit and it didn’t suit him. After completing 7 of 11 passes in the first half, he was only 4-of-17 in the second half. Reed’s defense held the Huskies to under 70 yards in the second half.
“You talk about consistency, and that’s exactly what our defense has been,” Howren said. “They understand the scheme. They come off the football and out-hit their opponent.”
Reed went up 44-0 on a 1-yard Jordan Deleon touchdown run with 8:18 left in the game.
The Huskies recorded a safety at the 4:16 mark of the fourth quarter to avoid the shutout.
Nowaczewski was 20-of-27 for the 229 yards through the air. He also racked up 161 yards on the ground on 18 carries.
Shepard broke the century mark, rushing for 127 yards on 11 carries.
Reed (6-3, 4-0 HDL) has the inside track to the league championship but must take down cross-town rival Spanish Springs in both schools regular season finale.