RENO - As the final seconds ticked away during Saturday's state semi-final game between McQueen and Eldorado, the announcer at John Robb Stadium was about to reveal the final score of the Wooster-Bishop Gorman game, the other semi-final being played in Las Vegas, when suddenly an extremely rowdy pro-Lancer crowd grew silent.
Then it came... Wooster 29, Bishop Gorman 6.
A load roar echoed throughout the stadium because after cheering in their teams surprisingly easy 29-14 win over the Sun Devils, Lancer fans realized next Saturday that they would get a a chance to witness something that has never happened. Two Northern Nevada football teams playing for the state championship.
"Anytime you have two North teams playing for the championship, that's something special," said Lancer coach Ken Dalton, who's won three state championships at McQueen in the past 11 years. But against Wooster, a team the Lancers have already beaten twice this season, Dalton will be looking for his first title since 1997.
In September, McQueen beat Wooster 31-17 and then in last week's zone championship game, the Lancers beat the Colts 28-3. Perhaps the loud cheers were because McQueen fans think another state title is already headed in their direction. But Dalton isn't so sure. After all, Wooster is a team that has been here before, winning back-to-back state titles in 1994 and 1995.
"Beating a team three times in one season, that's going to be tough," Dalton said.
It shouldn't be too tough if the Lancers play another mistake-free game, as they did against El Dorado. Other than Javier Berumen's second-half fumble that led to the Sun Devils first touchdown, McQueen dominated every aspect of the game. Eldorado's Steven Jackson, who rushed for over 2,800 yards this season, only had 108 yards on the ground, 81 of them coming in the second half. Quarterback Michael Edwards was sacked three times for minus-17 yards and only threw for 47 yards, all of them coming in the second half.
"Jackson is truly outstanding, he deserves everything he gets," Dalton said. "But I thought we played outstanding defense and had 11 kids on the tackle and ran to the ball really well. Our kids just swarmed to the ball and that's what we were looking to do."
Then defensively, the Sun Devils just couldn't stop running back Chris Carr, who rushed for 145 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Graham Siderius, who kicked two first-half field goals of 29 and 50 yards, only made four completions for 37 yards. He didn't make a completion in the second half but he really didn't have to.
"They're champions down there and we respect what they do," Dalton said. " But we thought we could run the ball on them. We were very physical up front and we controlled time and possession. That's what we wanted to do. We ran with two tight ends and it worked out."