September 22, 2023
Good evening and welcome to our fourth edition of our Power Rankings for Northern Nevada HS Football. We have now passed the halfway mark of the season and now turn our attention to league and then the playoffs.
Thanks, as always, for your viewership.
Without further ado, here are this week's rankings.
10. McQueen Lancers (2-3)
Last week's ranking: 10
Last week's result: Won 35-13 at Hug
This week's game: Friday at Reed, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: After starting the season 0-3 with arguably the region's most difficult non-conference schedule the Lancers have found a rhythm the past two weeks. During their three-game skid to begin the season the Lancers were outscored 121-36. Fast forward two weeks later and they have dismantled their competition, going 2-0 while outscoring their opponents 77-16. The week ahead presents a huge challenge in the Reed Raiders who McQueen knocked off in the regular season last year before being ousted by those same Raiders in the playoffs a few weeks later. QB Tre LaGrone has accounted for almost 500 yards of total offense and nine touchdowns in the early season. RB Samuel Duran is coming off a performance last week that saw him rush for 172 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively the Lancers have been led by 6-foot-3 SR Gary Forde who has 38 tackles, and a sack.
9. Spanish Springs Cougars (2-3)
Last week's ranking: 9
Last week's result: Won 28-9 at North Valleys
This week's game: Friday at Bishop Manogue, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: Another team with a difficult non-conference schedule was the Cougars who also started the season 0-3. During that three-game stretch the Cougs were outscored by 76 points. The last two weeks have been more kind to the Boys of Eagle Canyon Road as they have notched two-straight victories, outscoring their opponents by 56 points - an average of 28 points per game. This week's game will be a tough test as the Cougars hit the road for a rematch of last year's Regional Championship Game against Bishop Manogue. QB Tate Hummel has accounted for 712 yards passing and five touchdowns this season. Defensively the Cougars have been led by Sophomore Kyler DePaepe, who is averaging 12 tackles per game. Not to be outdone by DePaepe is fellow Sophomore Brady Hummel who has corralled two interceptions in only three game this season.
8. Elko Indians (2-2)
Last week's ranking: 7 (-1)
Last week's result: Won 48-0 at South Tahoe (Lake Tahoe, Calif.)
This week's game: Friday vs. Lowry, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: Sensing a theme yet?!? After starting the season 0-2 and being outscored by a margin of only eight points the Indians used their early season bye week and have cleaned things up for the betterment of their team. During the last two weeks the Indians have gone 2-0 and have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 90-21. They face a tough test this week as they welcome Lowry to Warrior Field but they have been diversifying their offense the past few weeks as five different players were responsible for a touchdown in their 48-0 win against South Tahoe (Lake Tahoe, Calif.) and they still have last season's 3A East MVP Cael Sellers (31 tackles and a fumble recovery) and RB Eli Finlayson (currently averaging 81.3 rushing yards per game) who can do damage in multiple ways to impact the game for the Indians.
7. Damonte Ranch Mustangs (3-2)
Last week's ranking: 8 (+1)
Last week's result: Won 32-7 at Galena
This week's game: Friday vs. Reno, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: After starting their season blazing hot, going 2-0 and outscoring their opponents 93-7 the Mustangs hit a bit of a speed bump losing to Truckee and Douglas by a combined score of 47-24. Last week they were able to get back on the winning track securing their victory in the "Battle for The Cross Saw" against Galena, defeating the Grizzlies 32-7 in a game that was never that close. Damonte Ranch continues to be led by their three-headed monster at RB. SR DJ Gonzalez-Brown (461 rushing yards, seven TDs), along with JR's Kobe Craig (358 rushing yards, two TDs) and Alan Limas (307 rushing yards, four TDs) will continue to do their best at proving they are the best backfield in all of Northern Nevada - regardless of classification. Not to be overlooked is the dominant defensive play of SR Braelen Toles, who has racked up 34 tackles, including 17 TFL, 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble through five games this season.
6. Reno Huskies (3-2)
Last week's ranking: 6
Last week's result: Won 43-0 at Wooster
This week's game: Friday at Damonte Ranch, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: One of only six teams in these rankings with at least three wins, the Huskies check in at the sixth spot for the second week in a row. After playing three tough non-conference games (going 1-2) against teams from California the Huskies have been dominant the last two weeks defeating North Valleys and Wooster by a combined score of 83-0. You read that right - yes, they have scored 83 points and not allowed any over their last 96 minutes of game time. The defense is locking in at just the right time. The week ahead has the Dogs on the road playing against the Mustangs of Damonte Ranch. RBs Jackson Sellers (517 rushing yards, five TDs) and Breck Worthen (323 rushing yards, three TDs) have combined to put up points in bunches over the last two weeks. MLB Champ Notyce continues his attack on the Reno HS record book defensively as he has notched 49 tackles on the season, while also causing a fumble.
5. Douglas Tigers (4-1)
Last week's ranking: 2 (-3)
Last week's result: Lost 21-14 against Reed
This week's game: Friday at Galena, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: Brutal, that's the only way I can describe the feeling that Douglas had last week after falling to Reed 21-14 at home last week in a game that saw them get down early but claw all the way back and make this one a tightly contested nail-biter down the stretch. Coach Mays knew going into last week's game that his squad would need to limit turnovers to have a good chance at winning the game, but they were undone by four turnovers last week. Now we turn the page on the non-conference schedule for the Tigers as they look to make some noise down the stretch. Senior RB Connor Jackson has been on a tear this season, compiling 685 rushing yards and 10 TDs at the halfway point of the season. WR Trace Estes has been doing his best Travis Hunter impression this season, totaling 415 receiving yards and three TDs while also being a lockdown DB for the Tigers. Good news for the Tigers: QB Owen Evans should be back soon for the stretch run.
4. Bishop Manogue Miners (2-2)
Last week's ranking: 5 (+1)
Last week's result: Won 49-0 at Carson
This week's game: Friday vs. Spanish Springs, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: Playmakers galore for the reigning Northern 5A Regional Champions. The Miners have shaken the rust off after two tough games against California competition to begin their season and now seem primed to make yet another run at a Regional Championship. Coach Howren and his staff won their 10th Regional Championship last season and will look to add to the 'Trophy Case' this season. Senior WR Ben Scolari is proving he's worthy of every accolade he has received thus far and continues to dominate opposing DBs to the tune of 15 receptions for 339 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He has been flanked by the speedster, fellow senior Dom Marconato, who has hauled in 15 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown for the Miners. DBs Tony Caramella and Pele Masina pace the Miners defensive unit, with each posting two interceptions this season.
3. Churchill County Greenwave (3-1)
Last week's ranking: 4 (+1)
Last week's result: Won 49-6 at Sparks
This week's game: Friday at Truckee (Calif.), 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: These boys from Churchill County mean business. They have been unrelenting in their early season schedule posting wins of 11, 48, and 43 points over the last three weeks. They are playing as good as anyone in the region, regardless of classification. They have only allowed 36 points all season and 23 of those came against the team that is directly ahead of them in these rankings. In fact, Fallon scored more points against the Raiders than any other Northern Nevada team so far this season. They head to Truckee this week in a game that has been two years in the making, one that should be highly competitive and hotly contested. The Greenwave lean on Senior RB Roland Grondin to set the tone for their offense, and he delivers in a major way; to the tune of 516 rushing yards and five TDs to be exact. The Greenwave have great team defense and won't be surprised by their opposition.
2. Reed Raiders (4-1)
Last week's ranking: 3 (+1)
Last week's result: Won 21-14 at Douglas
This week's game: Friday vs. McQueen, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: Reed has been on a tear the last three weeks, outscoring their opponents 103-38 while going 3-0. The Raiders will look to continue their winning streak tonight, as they take on the McQueen Lancers in a rematch of last season's league game that saw the Lancers spring the upset on the Raiders home field. Sophomore RB Bron Rios has been the region's best rusher at the halfway point. Rios checks in with 850 rushing yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 8.5 yards per carry. I expect him to push his season total over 1,000 yards rushing this evening. Senior LBs Cooper Park (59 tackles, two sacks) and Sione Vakapuna (32 tackles, two sacks) are leading the Raiders defense that has only allowed 14 points over their last two games. I think Reed is primed for a run in the 5A D-II as we hit the turn on this season.
1. Truckee Wolverines (5-0)
Last week's ranking: 1
Last week's result: Won 19-10 against Fernley
This week's game: Friday vs. Churchill County (Fallon, Nev.), 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: WINNING MATTERS!!! Now the region's only undefeated team the Wolverines have run their winning streak to 14 games, dating back to last season. They may, however, be in for their toughest test of the season as they welcome back their rivals of Churchill County to Surprise Stadium this evening in what could end up being the game of the week in our area. I was able to catch up with Coach Ivens after his team's 19-10 come-from-behind victory last week and he said "we are battle tested" and he was "proud of his guys for pulling out a tough victory against a great opponent." The Wolverines will continue to get everyone's best shot weekly and if they can overcome their rigorous schedule in Northern Nevada they will be looked at as favorites to represent the North in the State Championships once again this season. Junior RB/WR Joe Birnbaum has been en fuego for the Wolverines. Through five games he has accounted for 10 TDs and is averaging 162 yards of total offense per game. By the way, he also had a PR TD called back last week that would've have increased his Touchdown Total for the season. MLB Maxx Ellermeyer continues to prove that he is one of the best in the state - posting 67 tackles thus far.
J. Ray Dockter has been covering high school sports in Northern Nevada since 2022. If you have a story worth telling let him know via Twitter @J_RayDoc. He also recently began doing color commentary for Truckee football games with Tahoe-Truckee Media.