September 29, 2023
Good afternoon Northern Nevada!!! Welcome to our fifth edition of Battle Born Preps Pound-for-Pound Power Rankings for Northern Nevada HS Football. We are in full swing with league games now and we are turning our attention towards teams and their jockeying for playoff position.
Thanks, as always, for your viewership.
Without further ado, here are this week's rankings.
* Records, stats and rankings are reflective of results through Wednesday September 27, 2023.
Gone from last week: (10) McQueen Lancers
10. Fernley Vaqueros (2-3, 1-2)
Last week's ranking: Not ranked
Last week's result: Won 42-0 against South Tahoe (Lake Tahoe, Calif.)
This week's game: Friday at Churchill County, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: The Vaqueros ride into our 'Top Ten' once again on the heels of their dominant victory against South Tahoe last week. Fernley finds themself looking at a very winnable stretch of games coming up as they only have one league game remaining against the league's top competition. The Vaqueros have been led by Sophomore RB Keeshawn Love who has piled up 688 rushing yards and 4 TDs over five games this season. Defensively the Vaqueros have been led by Senior LB Garrett Harjo, who is responsible for 54 tackles, one sack and an interception. Also of note SR DB Andrew Yokoi has intercepted five passes. The Vaqueros look like a 'Top Four' team in the Northern 3A and we show love and respect to the rural schools here at Battle Born Preps.
9. Spanish Springs Cougars (2-4, 1-0)
Last week's ranking: 9
Last week's result: Lost 38-6 at Bishop Manogue
This week's game: Thursday vs. Damonte Ranch, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: The Cougs check in at the ninth spot in these rankings on the heels of their 38-6 loss at Bishop Manogue last week. They face a tough test in their second league game as the Damonte Ranch Mustangs pay a visit to the 'Boys of Eagle Canyon Road.' Spanish Springs has struggled with attrition this season and hasn't played a game at "full strength" since maybe week one or two. They have been led by the Hummel Bros. offensively as Tate is the team's starting QB. He has passed for 712 yards and four touchdowns while younger brother Brady has caught 10 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Spoiler: The Cougs are moving up after they defeated the Mustangs 14-0 last night at SS.
8. Reno Huskies (3-3, 0-1)
Last week's ranking: 6 (-2)
Last week's result: Lost 16-12 at Damonte Ranch
This week's game: Friday vs. Reed, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: The Huskies clawed back and gave themselves a chance to win last week on the road against the Damonte Ranch Mustangs after committing four turnovers and entering the fourth quarter down 16-0. Coach CJ Wintch and his staff will be prepared for this evening's matchup against the Reed Raiders and will look to post their first league win of the season. The Huskies continue to be led by their two stud RBs in Jackson Sellers (603 rushing yards and five touchdowns) and Breck Worthen (397 rushing yards and three touchdowns). Defensively, MLB Champ Notyce is averaging 11 tackles per game while being a menace to opposing team's offensive schemes. He is proving his worth as a 'Next-Level Player.'
7. Elko Indians (3-2, 3-0)
Last week's ranking: 8 (+1)
Last week's result: Won 42-0 against Lowry (Winnemucca, Nev.)
This week's game: Friday at Sparks, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: The Indians continue their ascent through these rankings the last few weeks as they are only the second undefeated team in the Northern 3A league games through three weeks. They face a down on their luck Sparks Railroaders team tonight before they travel to Truckee next week for a showdown with the defending State Champion Wolverines. The Indians have averaged 44 points per game over their three-game winning streak and have posted back-to-back shutout victories. Needless to say they are playing great football at the right time. Senior RB Eli Finlayson has rushed for 367 yards and three touchdowns this season. He should add to those totals with ease this evening.
6. Damonte Ranch Mustangs (4-2, 1-0)
Last week's ranking: 7 (+1)
Last week's result: Won 16-12 against Reno
This week's game: Thursday at Spanish Springs, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: The Mustangs continue to stack wins this season, having defeated the Reno Huskies 16-12 last week. I've been impressed with their resolve this season as they were expected to finish towards the bottom of the Northern 5A D-II standings. Through six games the Mustangs have been led by their three-headed monster in the backfield. Senior RB DJ Gonzalez-Brown (511 rushing yards, nine touchdowns), along with Juniors Kobe Craig (423 rushing yards and two touchdowns) and Alan Limas (329 rushing yards, four touchdowns) are the primary beneficiaries of the Mustangs rushing attack that has averaged over 225 rushing yards per game. The Mustangs were dealt a tough road loss last night against Spanish Springs but they are right in the mix in the Northern 5A D-II this season and they have already surpassed their win total from last season.
5. Churchill County Greenwave (3-2, 2-1)
Last week's ranking: 3 (-2)
Last week's result: Lost 35-22 at Truckee (Calif.)
This week's game: Friday vs. Fernley, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: Last week was a wave of emotions for the Greenwave as they traveled to Truckee after not playing them since 2021. The Greenwave struck first and scored on a long drive that saw them take an 8-0 lead. What followed was the Greenwave defense forcing a 3-and-out for Truckee before the Truckee defense clamped down and put their offense in position to score 35 unanswered points before scoring 14 points late making the final score 35-22. I am sure that last week's disappointment will lead to extra motivation for the boys of Churchill County but in the meantime, they welcome the Vaqueros of Fernley into town for a showdown of two teams that are fighting for homefield advantage come playoff time. The Greenwave have a plethora of offensive weapons and they should be on full display tonight.
4. Douglas Tigers (5-1, 1-0)
Last week's ranking: 5 (+1)
Last week's result: Won 51-21 at Galena
This week's game: Friday vs. Hug, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: The Tigers are back up one spot in this week's rankings after they crushed the Galena Grizzlies, 51-21 last Friday. They are clear and away the 'Top Dog' in the Northern 5A D-III and look primed to make a run at the State Championship. They play host to the Hug Hawks (who are coming off a 17-0 shutout loss to Carson last week) this evening. During last week's victory over Galena RB Connor Jackson had himself the game of a lifetime as he exploded for 304 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Entering tonight's contest against the Hawks Jackson is 11 yards shy of 1,000 for the season as he sits at 989 rushing yards and 14 TD's. Defensively the Tigers are led by Senior MLB Cole Smalley who has 68 tackles and five sacks so far this season.
3. Bishop Manogue Miners (3-2, 1-0)
Last week's ranking: 4 (+1)
Last week's result: Won 38-6 against Spanish Springs
This week's game: Friday at McQueen, 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: Well... as we all could have expected the Miners are rolling now having won their last three games by 106 points. They have continued to impress offensively after a slow start to the season. Looming large is their Thursday night game next week, as they host Reed. In the meantime, the Lancers will head up to the 'Academy on the Hill.' The Miners are led by Nevada commit and senior WR Ben Scolari who has shown his explosiveness leading to 19 catches, 455 receiving yards and seven touchdowns so far. Scolari is three touchdowns away from putting his name in the 'Top 10' of the NIAA's record book for Career Receiving TDs. Fellow senior DE Salesi Manu has 19 tackles and four sacks.
2. Reed Raiders (5-1, 1-0)
Last week's ranking: 2
Last week's result: Won 42-7 against McQueen
This week's game:
Checkup with The Doc: Reed continues to look like they are on a mission this season. They have won their last four games by 100 points with an average score of 36.25 to 11.25 in the same stretch. They have a date looming large with Bishop Manogue next week, but in the meantime, they'll play a Reno team looking to bounce back from a tough defeat last week. The Raiders have been led by Sophomore RB Bron Rios, who has racked up 946 rushing yards, and 10 TDs so far. Rios has also caught six balls for 49 yards in the Raiders high speed offense. LB Cooper Park continues to do his best Patrick Willis impression, as he is responsible for 71 tackles and two sacks for the Raiders. The Raiders should have no problem with the Reno Huskies this evening as the Raiders have rolled off four straight victories.
1. Truckee Wolverines (6-0, 3-0)
Last week's ranking: 1
Last week's result: Won 35-22 against Churchill County (Fallon, Nev.)
This week's game: Friday at Lowry (Winnemucca, Nev.), 7 PM
Checkup with The Doc: The Wolverines continue to roll and are now tied for the second longest winning streak in Truckee history after winning their 15th consecutive game last week in a 35-22 victory against Churchill County. The Wolverines went down 8-0 in the game before roaring back and scoring 35 unanswered points prior to the Greenwave adding a few extra touchdowns after the game was out of hand. In the victory Junior RB Joe Birnbaum continued his tear through Northern Nevada FB - running his way to 140 yards and scoring four TD's. On the season Birnbaum has rushed for 613 yards and 10 TD's while also showing his dual-threat capability corralling 19 receptions for 415 yards and four touchdowns. He could push for 2,000 yards of total offense and 25+ TD's by the end of the season. A showdown with Elko looms on the horizon next week. The 3A State Champions head to 'The Mucc' this evening to take on an injury-depleted Lowry Buckaroos team looking to upset the Champs and stop their winning streak at the same time.
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.