Battle Born Preps Pound-for-Pound Power Rankings
Good morning and welcome (almost) to the weekend, you've made it, now it's time to enjoy yourself. You can start by reading my weekly power rankings below.
Sure tough early season schedules are cool but... wins matter, momentum matters and that will be reflected accordingly in these rankings. If you disagree with these rankings that is okay, these rankings are for entertainment purposes only. Thank you for your viewership of this article and as always thanks for your investment in Northern Nevada student-athlete's.
I have also included a new feature at the bottom of these rankings titled 'Football Defined' because over the years I have experienced that most fans of the game, and even some of those that have played it have a false understanding of certain parts of the game. I have taken it upon myself to research these situations and will be giving a brief description of how a particular play is interpreted by officials when they make their rulings on the field.
Without further ado, here are this week's rankings.
Gone from last week: Reno Huskies (1-2), Spanish Springs Cougars (0-3)
Just missed: McQueen Lancers (0-3)
10. Elko Indians (0-2)
Last week's ranking: Not ranked
Last week's result: Bye
This week's game: vs. Fernley, 7 PM
Roundup: The Indians are in the tenth spot this week because I am giving them the benefit of the doubt after having only allowed 14 points to our No. 3 ranked Douglas Tigers on the road two weeks ago. One of the region's best teams on paper headed into this season, the Indians face a tough Fernley team at home Tonight that could put them in an 0-3 hole to start the season. The Indians will need a warrior like spirit to get their season pointed in the right direction. Senior Eli Finlayson is currently averaging 95 yards per game rushing and will be looked upon to guide Elko offensively against the Vaqueros. The Indians will have had two weeks to prepare for tonight's contest so hopefully they are ready. This is a very underrated game nobody is really talking about taking place in Eastern Nevada if you ask me. If you are out in Elko or the surrounding area's, get out and watch some football this evening.
9. Wooster Colts (2-1)
Last week's ranking: 10 (+1)
Last week's result: Lost 23-20 against Fernley
This week's game: at Spanish Springs, 7 PM
Roundup: The Colts began the season 2-0 while outscoring their opponents 67-0 in the first two weeks. They had quite a bit of momentum headed into their showdown with the Fernley Vaqueros last Friday but fell behind 16-0 by halftime and rallied for 20 points in the second half but their comeback came up three points short as the Vaqueros rode out of Reno with a 23-20 victory. This week will be a huge litmus test for the Colts as they have ramped up their season with a more difficult game each week culminating in this week's showdown at Spanish Springs. Most times I'd go with the team that has the better record in this scenario, but the Cougars have played a far more difficult schedule than the Colts to this point in the season and I think the Colts could be looking at a 2-2 record at the end of Friday night. This week, I bumped them up one spot because they have a legit grit about them that I like.
8. Galena Grizzlies (1-2)
Last week's ranking: 7 (-1)
Last week's result: Lost 18-7 against Churchill County
This week's game: at Bishop Manogue, 7 PM
Roundup: After beginning their season with a 24-0 shutout victory over the Spring Creek Spartans the Grizzlies have endured two tough losses. Over their last eight quarters the Grizz have been outscored 46-30, resulting in a 1-2 record three games into the season. Galena was dealt an even more difficult hand last week when they lost QB Colson Kermode to an injury, that if worse than anticipated, can be a huge loss for the Grizzlies hopes of making a deep postseason run this year. The Grizz face probably their toughest challenge of the season this week as they travel to Bishop Manogue in a game where the Miners will be looking to get on track offensively and defensively. Tyler Miller, JoJo Czyz, Matthew Ritenhouse and Drey Watson will need to step up big time this week to give the Grizzlies a chance to spring the upset on Bishop Manogue before turning their attention to 'The Battle for The Cross Saw' next week against Damonte Ranch.
7. Fernley Vaqueros (1-1)
Last week's ranking: Not ranked
Last week's result: Won 23-20 against Wooster
This week's game: at Elko, 7 PM
Roundup: The Vaqueros ride into our rankings this week on the heels of upsetting a 5A foe, Wooster, that had begun the season undefeated and in dominant fashion. One of my favorite things to do in these rankings is give as much publicity as possible to the smaller, more rural schools that don't get covered by the 'big guys' as often as the schools in Reno-Sparks. Many great athletes attend these schools and can compete with "bigger schools." Need proof just look at the 3A schools going 3-2 (in five matchups) against 5A schools last week. Fernley is in their second year under HC Anfernee Sloan and he has done a great job in building the program's health back up to it's pre-pandemic numbers. As the city of Fernley grows, they may eventually need to move up in classification in the coming years but if last week's performance is any indication of how they can perform I think they'd be up to the challenge. In the meantime, they head to Elko for a difficult start to their league season. Only time will tell if the Vaqueros make noise in the land of the Indians this evening.
6. Bishop Manogue Miners (0-2)
Last week's ranking: 3 (-3)
Last week's result: Lost 16-7 against Central Catholic (Modesto, Calif.)
This week's game: vs. Galena, 7 PM
Roundup: Save your breath and your eye rolls or telling me that Manogue isn't the sixth best team in the region - I already know that. At this point in the season the biggest thing that helps me to rank my teams is their win-loss record and how good they look in person. I have yet to see the Miners in person and am placing them here because I don't truly know how good the competition was that they just got done facing. I also believe that had they played Las Vegas HS three weeks ago that they'd have started the season 1-0 but that game ended up not taking place because of bad weather. Furthermore, I also believe that from now until the second week in November that the Miners have a legit chance to run the table and win a State Championship but until they get a few wins on the board they will be slotted into the back half of these rankings like it or not. Also, I expect WR Ben Scolari to take off these next few weeks after having put up good numbers the last two weeks.
5. Churchill County Greenwave (1-1)
Last week's ranking: 5
Last week's result: Won 18-7 against Galena
This week's game: vs. South Tahoe (Lake Tahoe, Calif.), 7 PM
Roundup: When I think about the Greenwave one phrase comes to mind "blue-collar." This year's version of the Greenwave seem to bring their hard hat and lunch pails with them to work every day and long term that could add up to a recipe for success. During my pre-season interview with Coach Hill, he explained to me how difficult it was for his kids to get over the heartbreak of how last season ended, and he further communicated to me how proud he is of his team's resiliency and effort they put forth to make this season turn out better for them than last season. The Greenwave always seem to have talent on their team but this year it seems like they have paired their talents with determination and hard work in hopes of what will be a successful season for the Greenwave. I expect them to be in the 'Top-3' in the 3A come seasons end. They open their home slate of games this evening against the visiting Vikings of South Tahoe.
4. Reed Raiders (2-1)
Last week's ranking: 4
Last week's result: Won 38-24 against Faith Lutheran (Las Vegas, Nev.)
This week's game: vs. Hug, 7 PM
Roundup: I'll say this, I wildly underestimated the resilience of these Raiders last week as they were coming off a tough loss to Del Oro (Loomis, Calif.) the week prior. Man, oh man is this team legit - I believe that they will prove to be Bishop Manogue's biggest competition for postseason glory this year after watching them dominate Faith Lutheran in every facet of the game. As a Native Northern Nevada, nothing gives me greater joy than when a team from Northern Nevada beats a team from Southern Nevada so last week, I was happily surprised when I saw the final score of this one. Big shoutout to Sophomore Bronwyn Rios who continues to show that he is a 'Next-Level' Football Player with an astronomically high ceiling, being that he still has two additional years to get BFS and prove his worth. At the pace he's going he could challenge Spencer Firebaugh's numbers from last year, only time will tell if he can keep up his torrid pace. One thing's for sure, I like his game.
3. Douglas Tigers (3-0)
Last week's ranking: 6 (+3)
Last week's result: Won 31-0 against Spring Creek
This week's game: at Damonte Ranch, 7 PM
Roundup: Our biggest movers this week going from six to three. The Tigers are living on the right side of the ledger through three weeks this season. They seem to be clicking at just the right time as we are two weeks away from league play beginning. Douglas' defense has been lights out through three games pitching two shutouts and only allowing nine points total. They are locked in as they finish up their non-conference schedule with Damonte Ranch this week on the road and Reed next week at home. These next two games will truly give us a good idea of how much potential this team has come postseason play. RB Connor Jackson is averaging 143 yards of total offense and two touchdowns per game offensively and remember he'll be getting his backfield mate, QB Owen Evans, back soon - just in time for the Tigers to make a run down the stretch. In my opinion this is the game of the week in the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area.
2. Damonte Ranch Mustangs (2-1)
Last week's ranking: 1 (-1)
Last week's result: Lost 20-17 against Truckee
This week's game: vs. Douglas, 7 PM
Roundup: Brutal, that seems to be the only way I can describe the Mustangs loss to Truckee last week. After leading for forty-six minutes and twenty-one seconds of game time the Mustangs defense was unable to corral the Wolverines tempered offense and ultimately ended up losing 20-17 on an 87-yard catch and run. They led 10-7 at halftime and 17-7 after thirty-six minutes of gametime in the pouring rain and lived in Truckee's backfield all night. My two takeaways for the Mustangs were 1. They are big and fast. The second thing is that they are physical on both sides of the ball, they play violent, and finish runs with their pad level down. I will say this, prior to the game I underestimated them, but I can assure you that will not happen again this season. I'm excited to see how the Mustangs perform in the league season this year.
1. Truckee Wolverines (3-0)
Last week's ranking: 2 (+1)
Last week's result: Won 20-17 against Damonte Ranch
This week's game: at Spring Creek, 7 PM
Roundup: Champions find a way. In what was probably one of the ugliest Truckee football games I have seen in years the Wolverines showed their 'Championship Pedigree' and found a way to win a game they had no business winning. For only the fifth time in school history Coach Ivens and his squad are on a 12-game winning streak. If they can pull out a victory in the Ruby Mountains this evening this edition of Wolverines will officially take sole possession of the fourth longest winning streak in school history. QB Jace Estabrook, who double as a defensive back and triples as a kick/punt returner, was far and away Truckee's MVP last week where he was responsible for each one of Truckee's three touchdowns (two passing and a punt return) while also coming up with a huge third down pass breakup as Damonte Ranch was driving in the final minutes of the game. Through three games this season Estabrook has given me major Marcus Bellon vibes, Bellon was a great athlete at Truckee a few years back who now plays Division-I WR for UTEP. We'll see what the future holds for this young man.
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Football defined: This week I will be explaining what a 'horse-collar tackle' is by rule/interpretation of the officials on the field. "A horse-collar tackle is an American football maneuver in which a defender tackles an opposing player by grabbing the back [rear] collar or the back-inside of an opponent's shoulder pads and (thus) pulling the ballcarrier directly downward violently in order to pull his feet [out] from underneath him."
My interpretation: A horse-collar tackle can not take place when an offensive player is tackled from anywhere other than their back (specifically right above their nameplate) and (commonly) the opponent uses the shoulder pads as leverage to force the player to the ground. Football is a violent game and tackles in the open field can look bad in real-time but when you take a non-judgmental look at the play that happened you are able to better understand what happened or what didn't happened and how the officials came to their conclusion on if to throw a penalty flag or not. In conclusion... if an offensive player is tackled around the neck from the side (in the open field, and he is making a move to gain yardage) it is not a horse-collar tackle by rule. It might look bad but it's a legal play according to the interpretation of the rules. Don't agree with me, let me know and we can have a discussion.
Have a great weekend, get out and enjoy The Great Reno Balloon Races, check out the Pack take on the Vandals of Idaho and oh yeah - the NFL is back. It's the best time of the year.