September 14, 2023
Battle Born Preps Pound-for-Pound Power Rankings
Good morning and welcome to our third edition of our Power Rankings for Northern Nevada HS Football for the 2023 season. This week marks the halfway point of our season and after this week’s games it’s all league play until the playoffs begin at the end of October.
Now that we have started to get out of non-conference play, we turn our attention to league games that begin next week for the 5A-II and 5A-III. The Northern 3A began league play last week so they are in full swing from now until the end of the regular season.
Wins matter to me and they always will, but in the mean time I’ve started to use my algorithm that I used last year to create these rankings. It consists of overall record, strength of schedule from MaxPreps, streak (winning or losing), points scored vs. points allowed (and the difference in between) and lastly the eye test – which is huge for me. Don’t agree with these rankings?!? That’s okay, prove me wrong and they’ll change (like they do weekly).
Thanks, as always, for your viewership.
Without further ado, here are this week’s rankings.
Gone from last week: (7) Fernley (1-2), (8) Galena (1-3), and (9) Wooster (2-2)
Just missed: Spring Creek (0-3), and Lowry (2-2)
10. McQueen Lancers (1-3)
Last week’s ranking: Not ranked
Last week’s result: Won 41-3 against Carson
This week’s game: Friday at Hug, 7 PM
Roundup: The Lancers make their first appearance in our BB Preps Top 10, and it comes on the heels of arguably their best game of the season – having defeated Carson 41-3 for their first victory of the season last Saturday, in a game that saw them leading 35-0 at halftime. According to MaxPreps the Lancers have played the most difficult Non-League schedule (to date) in all of Northern Nevada. QB Tre LaGrone looked like a seasoned vet commanding his squad down the field on their first two possessions, hooking up with Adrian Sanchez, and scoring the Lancers first two touchdowns. In three games this season LaGrone has thrown for 227 yards and seven touchdowns while adding 35 rushing yards and a touchdown. Defensively LaGrone has accounted for nine tackles, and a sack in the early part of the season. Also, don’t look now but I spy TE/OLB Kanigh Snyder making an impact for this team in the first few games – he already has a receiving TD offensively and 17 tackles defensively.
9. Spanish Springs (1-3)
Last week’s ranking: Not ranked
Last week’s result: Won 44-7 against Wooster
This week’s game: Friday at North Valleys, 7 PM
Roundup: Welcome back to the Top 10 Cougars!!! Two weeks after debuting at No. 9 in these rankings the Cougars make a return appearance once again in the ninth slot. As is the case almost every year under Coach Hummel the Cougars played an extremely difficult non-league schedule so that they could get some things on film and make adjustments during the conference schedule in hopes of making a run at the school’s first regional championship. Through three games QB Tate Hummel has passed for 712 yards and four touchdowns to go along with a rushing score. His favorite target thus far has been fellow senior Chris Shakespeare, who has corralled 16 passes for 306 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars will look to make it two wins in a row this week against their old rival North Valleys.
8. Damonte Ranch (2-2)
Last week’s ranking: 2 (-6)
Last week’s result: Lost 27-7 against Douglas
This week’s game: Friday at Galena, 7 PM
Roundup: The Mustangs have slid seven spots in the last two weeks on the heels of home losses to Truckee (Calif.), 20-17, and Douglas, 27-7. After scoring 93 points in their first two games, the Mustangs have only mustered 24 over their last two. If the Mustangs are to make noise in the Northern 5A-II they’ll need to get back on track before the league season begins. They hit the road for their annual rivalry game against Galena – a team that is reeling from three straight losses, in the “Battle for The Cross Saw.” If the Mustangs can get back on track with a win this week, they’ll be in a good position to make some noise over the next five weeks as we close out the regular season. Leading the Mustangs offense has been their stable of RB’s DJ Gonzalez-Brown (344 rushing yards, 5 TDs), Kobe Craig (294 rushing yards, 2 TDs) and Alan Limas (270 yards, 4 TDs). Defensively senior DT Braelen Toles is a dominant force in the middle who has accounted for 28 tackles, 15 TFLs, 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble so far this season. He has the potential to be a “Next-Level” player if he continues to produce like he has this season and his previous two seasons on Varsity.
7. Elko (1-2, 1-0)
Last week’s ranking: 10 (+3)
Last week’s result: Won 42-21 against Fernley
This week’s game: Friday at South Tahoe (Lake Tahoe, Calif.), 7 PM
Roundup: After stumbling through their first two games of the season, the Indians finally broke through and dominated in their league opener against Fernley last week, ultimately winning 42-21 against the Vaqueros. Offensively Elko QB Ethan Kraintz has thrown for 398 yards, and 5 TDs through three games but Elko’s success this season will be dependent upon the broad shoulders of SR RB Eli Finlayson. Finlayson has rumbled for 305 rushing yards through three games and finds himself 542 yards away from entering the ‘Top Five’ in career rushing yards for the 3A. Also of note, Finlayson needs only 128 rushing yards to break 3,000 for his career – a number that seems like a foregone conclusion at this point. TE Preston Chamberlin is currently in the middle of doing his best Gronk impression to the rest of the 3A, scoring a touchdown every third time he touches the ball. In total he has eight receptions for 182 yards and three touchdowns. By the end of the season, he’ll be around double digits in TDs.
6. Reno (2-2)
Last week’s ranking: Not ranked
Last week’s result: Won 40-0 against North Valleys
This week’s game: Friday at Wooster, 7 PM
Roundup: I was able to get eyes on the Huskies last week and came away impressed with them after they were slow to get started in their 40-0 win against North Valleys. After only leading 14-0 at halftime the Huskies came out with a vengeance in the second half outscoring the Panthers 26-0 and cruising to victory. Offensively: The Huskies have been led by Senior RBs Jackson Sellers and Breck Worthen who have combined for 576 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Leading the Huskies at wideout is Senior Cody Fisher who has corralled four receptions for 78 yards and a TD. Defensively Reno has been led by LB Champ Notyce, who has posted 38 tackles, and a forced fumble through four games, albeit against really tough competition. Champ continues to prove that he is up to the task at MLB and even had an 85-yard kick return touchdown last week against North Valleys, even though it was called back it was still impressive and showed just how much of a ‘gamer’ he is anywhere you put him on the field.
5. Bishop Manogue (1-2)
Last week’s ranking: 6 (+1)
Last week’s result: Won 41-16 against Galena
This week’s game: Friday at Carson, 7 PM
Roundup: Before you get hot and bothered, please remember that Wins carry an extreme amount of weight in my rankings at this point. A few weeks from now when local teams are strictly playing against one another you can get upset with me if the Miners aren’t where ‘you’ think they should be… until then they are fifth on this list. Now that we have gotten that out of the way, I believe that this is the point in the season where the Miners will takeoff and never look back. They were able to get through an extremely difficult start to their season after having their game against Las Vegas canceled. They played two really tough teams from California (Jesuit, and Central Catholic) and can take the lessons learned from those opponents, make the necessary adjustments to be successful and make this season special for the Miners. WR Ben Scolari has picked up where he left off last season, as he leads the team in every statistical receiving category, including 13 receptions for 284 yards and three touchdowns.
4. Churchill County (2-1, 1-0)
Last week’s ranking: 5 (+1)
Last week’s result: Won 48-0 against South Tahoe (Lake Tahoe, Calif.)
This week’s game: Friday at Sparks, 6 PM
Roundup: A week after defeating Galena on the road by double digits the Greenwave put it on the visiting Vikings (of South Tahoe) by a score of 48-0. They started fast, scoring 36 points in the first quarter, and never looked back. The Greenwave will look to continue to feast on their early season competition (who outside of their opener against Reed) as they hit the road for an early Friday night kickoff against Sparks before taking on the defending State Champion Truckee Wolverines next week. I am sure that Coach Hill and his staff will have their players ready for this week and next. QB Bryce Adams has been at the controls for the Greenwave, accounting for 518 yards of total offense and six touchdowns. Adams has yet to commit a turnover this season after only tossing one pick last season. RB Roland Grondin has accounted for 356 rushing yards and three touchdowns while H-Back Ethan Tarner has racked up 159 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
3. Reed (3-1)
Last week’s ranking: 4 (+1)
Last week’s result: Won 44-0 against Hug
This week’s game: Thursday at Douglas, 7 PM
Roundup: The Raiders seem to be hitting their stride at just the right time in the first half of the season. After winning in a 23-16 battle against Churchill County to start the season the Raiders traveled over to Cali for less than stellar results. They didn’t panic and put a whoopin’ on Faith Lutheran the following week and followed that up with a 44-0 shutout against Hug last week. QB Nishaan Bajwa continues to show that he is a steady hand that can guide this Raiders through this season and beyond. RB Bron Rios continues to show that he is a man-child at running back for the Raiders. He is currently setting the pace for the Northern 5A D-II with 637 rushing yards and six touchdowns. A few more big games and he might run away with the rushing title as his closest counterpart is 293 yards behind his pace this season. He’s not a one-man band carrying the rock as Sione Vakapuna has also registered 149 rushing yards this season. Defensively, the Raiders have been paced by MLB Cooper Park who leads the Northern 5A D-II with 45 tackles and two sacks in four games this season. If Park continues to play the way he has he will most definitely get an opportunity to become a “Next-Level” player in the future.
2. Douglas (4-0)
Last week’s ranking: 3 (+1)
Last week’s result: Won 27-7 at Damonte Ranch
This week’s game: Thursday vs. Reed, 7 PM
Roundup: 16 points!!! That’s the amount of points the Tigers defense has allowed through four games this season, or an average of four points per game. They are outscoring their opponents by 24 points per game on average. What’s even more impressive is that the Tigers have posted two shutouts already this season while rolling to a 4-0 record. They will face quite the test this evening in Minden as the Reed Raiders roll into town looking to improve their record and establish themselves as one of the top teams in the 5A this season. RB Connor Jackson continues to ball out for the Tigers as he checks in with 623 rushing yards and nine touchdowns through four games. Not to be outdone by Jackson is WR Trace Estes who has already surpassed his receiving touchdown total from last year and checks in with 15 receptions for 279 yards and three touchdowns. The defense is setting the tone for these Tigers as I stated above but the Tigers have been explosive on offense just as well.
1. Truckee (4-0, 1-0)
Last week’s ranking: 1
Last week’s result: Won 41-19 at Spring Creek
This week’s game: Friday vs. Fernley, 7 PM
Roundup: The Wolverines sit in the top spot for the second consecutive week after knocking off previous No. 1 Damonte Ranch, 20-17, just under two weeks ago. Their victory over Spring Creek, 41-19, last week started off very slow as the Spartans were able to score their first points of the season against the Wolverines and surprisingly led 6-0 after the first quarter. The Wolverines looked a little sluggish early but eventually got on track and ran their winning streak to 12 games, dating back to last season. After beginning the season on the road for three of the first four weeks the Wolverines begin a stretch of four of their next six games within the friendly confines of Surprise Stadium on the campus of Truckee HS just over the California/Nevada border. QB Jace Estabrook has accounted for 647 passing yards and eight touchdowns to go along with 94 rushing yards and one touchdown at the controls. RB Joe Birnbaum is doing his best Reggie Bush impression this season having racked up 382 rushing yards, and four touchdowns to go along with 284 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Not to be outdone by Birnbaum is Senior RB Luke Trotter who is busy doing his own Deebo Samuel impression with 234 rushing yards, and three touchdowns while "Moss-ing" opposing DBs to the tune of 227 receiving yards and four touchdowns. These three can do some serious damage for Truckee this season.
J. Ray Dockter has been covering high school sports since 2022. If you have a story worth telling let him know via Twitter @J_RayDoc. Also, he recently began doing color commentary for Truckee football games with Tahoe-Truckee Media.