Glancing at the standings and playoff seedings, the Reed Raiders would seem to be the easy lock to advance to the regional semifinals over Douglas High School tonight.
But take away Reed's 7-3 record - and Douglas' 4-5 slate for that matter - and a reasonable amount of similarity, not to mention parity, emerges between the two schools.
It starts with the two school's September meeting, when Reed emerged as 54-35 victors over the Tigers.
The Raiders capitalized on a catastrophic start from the Tigers, running up a 20-0 lead before Douglas woke up and match Reed punch for punch down the stretch, outscoring the Raiders 35-34 over the final 33 minutes of the game.
"We moved the ball against them," Douglas coach Ernie Monfiletto said. "We feel confident that we can. We feel like we can have success, we just have to eliminate mistakes. We can't give up big plays on defense. We have to control the football on offense.
"The kids believe they can play with Reed. I say it every week, it comes down to alignment, assignment and execution. If we do that, we'll be in good shape."
Indeed, statistically speaking, there simply isn't much separating Douglas and Reed statistically.
The teams faced six common opponents this season with similar results. Reed emerged from that grouping with a 5-1 record, while Douglas went 4-2 against the same schools.
Reed beat Manogue and Spanish Springs soundly, where Douglas lost by multiple scores to both schools. Douglas, on the other hand, defeated Carson narrowly on the last play from scrimmage while Reed narrowly lost to the Senators on the last play of the game.
Offensively, each school boasts a trio of senior skill players easily among the best in Northern Nevada.
Reed quarterback Mark Nowaczewski has completed 64 percent of his 294 passing attempts for 2,354 yards and 20 touchdowns with eight interceptions.
He is the Raiders' second leading rusher with 105 carries for 617 yards and nine touchdowns.
Douglas quarterback Michael Nolting's throwing stats are slightly better, with one less game played than Nowaczewski, completing 73 percent of his 216 passes for 2,294 yards and 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He is also the Tigers' second leading rusher with 86 carries for 495 yards and five touchdowns.
Douglas running back Conner Peterson has carried 216 times this season for 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Reed's workhorse back, Ty Shepard clocks in at 152 carries for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The top receiving targets for each team are equally as impressive. Reed's Devin Gray has 79 catches for 1,087 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Douglas' Dusty Fisher has 64 catches for 1,156 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Douglas has four receivers on the roster with 10 or more catches on the year, while Reed has five receivers with 10 or more catches.
While both offenses can pile up both yardage and points in a hurry, it will come down to which team's defense steps up bigger.
Reed has among the top defenses in Northern Nevada, as it does every year, but the Raiders have struggled to some extent with spread offense attacks. They gave up 50 points to Foothill, Calif., the 35 to Douglas, 21 to Manogue's pistol attack, and 20 to North Valleys.
They solved things up in their final two games, both against teams that spread the ball around, allowing no points on offense to Reno and just 14 against Spanish Springs.
Douglas had huge defensive struggles through out the season, but took enormous strides forward in its final two outings. Through Douglas' first seven games, the Tigers surrendered an average of 455.6 yards per game.
The Tigers shifted away from its 4-2-5 defense in favor of a 4-3 look against Manogue and Carson to close out the season, and gave up 318.5 yards per game to close out the season.
"We are a different team defensively than we were in Week 3," Monfiletto said. "Offensively we've made some adjustments too. We just have to play our game and see what happens."