The Reed Raiders made sure of that by reeling off 26 straight points.
Reed (11-2) took a second-quarter lead and was never really threatened from there, coasting to a 26-3 victory in the regional final. The triumph gives Reed its first Northern 4A football championship since 2004.
“I cannot tell you what this means,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said. “I’m just so proud of these guys. It feels great. This validates everything these kids have worked so hard for all year.”
Reed advances to a state semifinal Saturday at 1 p.m. The Raiders will host Sunset Region champion Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas.
“Already our kids are asking about Bishop Gorman,” Howren said as he walked off the field Friday. “That’s just the kind of kids they are. They are very focused.”
Despite the one-sided final margin, Galena (8-5) did get on the scoreboard first. Eric Howsley booted a 22-yard field goal to give the Grizzlies a 3-0 edge with 2:28 to go in the first quarter. The Grizz took advantage of good field position. Their drive started on the Reed 41. It looked like the Reed defense had held but Galena converted a fourth-and-6 play when Howsley, the upback on a punt formation, rambled 18 yards on a fake to keep the south Reno school’s drive alive.
Unfortunately for Grizzlies fans, that’s as good as it got. Reed limited Galena to 178 yards of total offense and the one field goal on the night.
“We’ve been riding our defense all year and those guys stepped up huge again like they have all year,” Howren said.
Reed’s Aaron Greenblat tried a 48-yard field goal on the following possession that could have tied the game, but it sailed wide. After the miss, Galena took over at its own 20 but Howsley fumbled on the first play. Reed took over at the Grizz 21 and cashed in. Five plays later, Raiders quarterback Tyler Pine found a seam and got over the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown run. The score forged Reed into a 7-3 lead at the 6:56 mark of the second quarter.
Reed never trailed again.
Reed went right back to work after halftime. On their first possession after the intermission, the Raiders took over at the Galena 48. Christian Thompson lunged into the end zone from a yard out for a touchdown three plays later. A play earlier, Thompson sprinted 41 yards down to the 2-yard line. The RHS gridders got another penalty yard tacked on when Thompson was brought down by a horse collar tackle. The touchdown helped Reed extend its edge to 14-3 with 8:46 showing on the third-quarter clock.
Thompson racked up 129 rushing yards on 17 carries.
“This feels great, like you’re floating on a cloud,” Thompson said of the regional championship. “Reed hasn’t done this in a while so to come out and play like this feels good ... I had to keep my legs warm so I could be as fast as I could. And of course I’ve got to say thanks to those linemen.”
The Raiders put the game away early in the fourth quarter. Greenblat caught a short wide receiver screen pass, but ran through a tackle and bolted 69 yards for a touchdown. Reed’s extra-point try failed but the Raiders led 20-3 after the big play score left 9:24 in the playoff contest.
Pine finished 4-of-11 through the air for 96 yards. He also rushed for 43 yards on 18 attempts.
From there Galena got desperate. If there was any doubt in the final outcome Reed’s Dennis Bartee erased it. The Raiders defensive back stepped in front of a Beau Bickel pass and raced untouched into the end zone on a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown. Again Reed’s PAT try failed but the Raiders had built the final 26-3 advantage with 4:44 to go in the game.