Reed fell to 7-1, 3-1 in the High Desert League while Reno improved to 6-3, 3-2 in the HDL and secured a playoff berth.
“Reno beat us in all three phases of the game, offensively, defensively and in special teams, ending with the special teams play at the end of the game,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said. “We didn’t play well. Reno played really well. They beat us up front. I’m going to go back and watch the film and figure out what the heck happened.”
The Raiders led 27-23 with four minutes left in the game but then Reed quarterback Chris Denn committed his first turnover of the game, fumbling at the Reno 46-yard line. The Huskies recovered the fumble and marched 54 yards in six plays, a drive capped by a 1-yard Cole Eddy touchdown dive to put Reno in front 29-27. The Huskies failed to convert the following two-point conversion try.
Reno's go-ahead touchdown drive almost immediately followed its 18-play, 70-yard, scoring march that lasted just short of 10 minutes and closed the gap to 27-23.
Reed’s defense was off the field for just more than a minute before Denn’s fumble gave the ball back to Reno.
“We didn’t play well (defensively). We didn’t,” Howren said. “We haven’t played well for two weeks now. We are going to have to get some stuff fixed.”
Trailing by two, Reed took over at its own 18 yard-line with 1:09 remaining. Denn marched the Raiders down to the Reno 4-yard line, on eight plays, before the blocked field goal.
Denn completed 15-of-24 pass attempts for 170 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 103 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
“Now that we have a loss, we have to take advantage of this and go back and figure what we’ve got to do better,” Howren said.
Reed struggled all night to contain Reno’s rushing attack spearheaded by shifty quarterback Mathew Young and Eddy. Both played on the defensive side of the ball as well.
Reno took a 17-14 lead with 23 seconds left in the first half after a booming Ryan Tatem 43-yard field goal.
The Raiders grabbed the lead on the first drive of the second half with a Jordan de Leon 1-yard touchdown plunge. The bulldozing running back ran for 159 yards on 23 carries and the score. He received all the carries as his speedy counterpart, Jorden Carter, missed the game after suffering an injury in practice. Carter is expected back next week.
The Raiders forced a punt on the Huskies' ensuing drive and Alex Hernandez found the end zone on a 23-yard screen on the Raiders' next possession. The score put Reed up 27-17 with 4:36 left in the third quarter.
Wade Eiler led the Cougars with 67 receiving yards on five grabs. Trae Wells hauled in six passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Denn went deep to Wells five times in the first half but was only able to connect once, resulting in a 25-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at sevens early in the first quarter.
“We were just not in sync early in the game like we should have been,” Howren said.
With the win, the Huskies sit alone in third place in the High Desert League and have locked up a playoff berth.
“Honestly, I think in terms of extending our season, it (the win), goes very far,” Reno coach Dan Avansino said. “Because I didn’t think we sat that well with some tie breakers.”
Reed fell into a first-place tie with McQueen with the loss but owns the tiebreaker over the Lancers. The Raiders will still win the HDL crown in the final game of the regular season next week if they can top cross-town foe, Spanish Springs.