In the first of four contests that promise to be the game of the season, the Fernley football team will host Lowry in a showdown between Northern Nevada 3A teams that have aspirations of making the playoffs.
In 4A action, Galena will begin league play when it travels to Reed. In 3A action, Dayton will host North Tahoe and Yerington will host Rite of Passage. Kickoff for all games will be at 7:30 p.m. today.
The Vaqueros (3-0) begin a tough four-game stretch against an unbeaten Lowry team. Fernley will then face North Tahoe, Truckee and Spring Creek.
"First of four tough ones in a row, that's for sure," Fernley coach Dave Hart said. "It's a biggie. It's not do or die. Both teams are similar."
Lowry is a senior-laden team that dominated the line of scrimmage last week in a 40-0 win over Dayton.
Hart said the next four weeks will determine "if we're a playoff team or not. 4-0, you have a real good shot."
But Hart also said he would be satisfied if it can split the next four games, which should be good enough to keep his team's playoff hopes alive.
Quarteback Matt Lambeth had another huge game last week in a wild 57-41 win over Rite of Passage and Hart said Lambeth will need to have another huge game against Lowry.
Hart said the play of his young offensive line will obviously be a key if the Vaqueros are going to take advantage of its weapons such as Lambeth and running back Danny Maguin.
GALENA AT REED
Even though the Grizzlies are off to a 2-1 start, they were still left with a bitter taste after last week's 14-8 win at Douglas High. The game stayed close even though Galena rushed for 222 yards, led by Luke Penrose who ran for 112 yards on 22 carries.
Douglas scored on the game's final play and added a two-point conversion for the final margin.
"I know the kids weren't satisfied," Galena coach Greg Sakelaris said. "They gave up a touchdown at the end of the game and they had some opportunities the didn't capitalize on."
While the game plan always calls for a balanced attack, Sakelaris said he would take another rushing effort against Reed like the one from last week.
"If the offensive line can control the line of scrimmage, we can run the ball," Sakelaris said. "That's the safest way."
The game will feature two of Northern Nevada's top running backs in Penrose and Reed's Thai Welty.
"We have some confidence, but the season starts tomorrow," said Sakelaris about today's league opener for his team. "I see them (Reed) coming out as really hungry."
NORTH TAHOE AT DAYTON
Coming off its loss to Lowry, the Dust Devils face another traditional Northern 3A power in North Tahoe. Dayton's wing-T offense is still struggling.
"We haven't been able to fin any offense in three games," Dayton coach Butch Cattanach said.
"We're looking for credibility. We hope to fine tune things to try to find some way to take advantage of the weapons we do have."
On defense, Dayton (0-3) has actually played well, Cattanach said. "We've had a pretty good, swarming defense," he said.
The most important event at Dayton today will be the dinner served in the press box. The Dayton players have decided to donate half the proceeds from all the dinners at home games to the American Red Cross for helping the relief effort in New York. Tickets for the dinner, which include entry into the game, are $5.
ROP AT YERINGTON
While Yerington coach Cody Neville goes into every game believing his team can win, he realizes that one of the best chances for the Lions (1-2) to win a Northern 3A game will come today against ROP.
"This is definitely one we feel we have an equal opportunity from the team across from us," Neville said. "We talked about how we can't miss this opportunity."
Yerington is led by quarterback Drew Thorne, running back Shawn McCarty, who has been a dangerous return specialist, and running back Randy Shumate.