0-3 isn’t where any team wants to see the season begin, but it is how the Mustangs started the 2021 season after losses at Clovis West (Fresno), Faith Lutheran (Vegas), and at Reed. The Mustangs then went on the road to Acalanes (Lafyette, CA), picking up their first win of the season, winning five in a row. The last time the Mustangs opened the year 0-4 was 2010, when the team went 0-9. This week the Mustangs will fight to avoid going 0-4 and their opponent is the Reed Raiders.
Reed enters the contest with a 1-2 record. They opened the season with a loss in Las Vegas to an opponent that should look familiar to the Mustangs, Faith Lutheran. The Raiders next opponent was Churchill County (Fallon), a 34-28 victory for the Raiders. They opened their home schedule with a pivotal matchup with the Bishop Manogue Miners and former head coach Earnie Howren. The Miners were looking for their first win of the season and they found it, a resounding 51-15 victory in Sparks.
The Raiders have a good running back, senior Spencer Firebaugh, who is averaging 125 yards per game and has seven touchdowns. At quarterback the Raiders start a junior, Dakota Dunlap who is averaging 191 yards per game. Like Faith Lutheran, the Raiders spread the ball around, they have three wideouts each averaging 27 yards per game, or more:
· Damien Taylor, senior, 56.3 yards per game
· Zach Taylor, junior, 49.3 yards per game
· Xavier Pineda, sophomore, 27.7 yards per game
The Mustangs defense had its hands full, week two, with a balanced Faith Lutheran attack led by sophomore running back Cale Breslan. Breslan rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns. The Mustangs will need to limit Firebaugh’s impact while looking to limit Dunlap’s opportunities downfield.
The Raiders defense is surrendering 38.6 points per game, their leading tackler is Cooper Park, a junior linebacker. Aiden Flores is a senior defensive end with two sacks and six quarterback hurries. Will the Mustangs be able to get the offense back on track after being held to seven points by Faith Lutheran last week?
Last season these two sides met at Reed, September 10th, a 33-26 victory for the Raiders. Damonte held the halftime advantage, 26-20, but was held scoreless in the second half while surrendering 13 to the Raiders. Reed vs Damonte has quietly become quite the rivalry. The Mustangs didn’t pick up their first Reed win until the 2016 Northern Title Game, 45-49. In 2017, the Raiders pulled off a second-round playoff upset of the Mustangs, at Damonte, 31-27. In 2018, the Mustangs stampeded to a 52-6 victory. Ethan Kulpin led the Mustangs to victories over Reed in 2019, 19-6, and 30-24 in 2020. So, a series that started out very lopsided has become a “must see” event, which is probably why it will be televised by Nevada Sports Net/Friday Night Lights.
Freshman – Thursday, 3:30 PM, hosting Reed
Junior Varsity – Thursday, 5:45 PM, hosting Reed
Varsity – Friday, 7:00 PM, hosting Reed, Homecoming festivities at halftime
About Your Author – Lynn Ault primarily covers Damonte Ranch Athletics for Battle Born Preps. Both his kids graduated from Damonte where his wife teaches math. Lynn is also the youth pastor for the south Reno non-denominational church, Hope Community.