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R-C Sports Notebook: Kind of on, but mostly off

by Joey Crandall

I promised at the beginning of the year that we would revisit my preseason Fall Sports predictions after the seasons concluded. So without further delay, here you go:

Football

My predictions: Playoff teams: High Desert: 1. McQueen. 2. Hug. 3. Reed 4. Spanish Springs. Sierra: 1. Douglas. 2. Manogue. 3. Carson 4. Galena

Regional Champion: Manogue.

Surprise team: Carson.

Actual results: Playoff teams: High Desert: 1. McQueen. 2. Hug. 3. Reed. 4. Reno. Sierra: 1. Manogue. 2. Douglas. 3. Damonte Ranch. 4. Galena.

Regional Champion: TBD (I’m still going with Manogue in the upset)

Surprise team: Damonte Ranch.

My thoughts: Football wasn’t a bad venture for me. I was off on Reno and Damonte Ranch as far as playoff teams, but I had the basic order right. Damonte Ranch, led by quarterback Ray Daniels, certainly took some big steps as a program and should continue to grow into a regional power in the coming years. My surprise team pick, Carson, is probably still a year away, but they will be very, very good within three seasons.

Volleyball

My picks: Playoff teams: High Desert: 1. Reno. 2. McQueen. 3. Reed. 4. Spanish Springs. Sierra: 1. Douglas. 2. Manogue. 3. Carson. 4. Galena.

Regional Champion: Douglas.

Surprise team: Carson.

Actual results: Playoff teams: High Desert: 1. Reno. 2. McQueen. 3. Reed. 4. Elko. Sierra: 1. Douglas. 2. Damonte Ranch. 3. Manogue. 4. Carson.

Regional Champion: Manogue.

Surprise team: Carson.

My thoughts: The High Desert played out just about how I thought it would, but the Sierra was all over the map after Douglas. Carson came up with the “surprise” upset late in the year over Manogue, but Manogue came back and swept through the regional playoffs.

Boys’ Soccer

My picks: Playoff teams: High Desert: 1. McQueen. 2. Reed. 3. Elko. 4. Reno. Sierra: 1. Carson. 2. South Tahoe. 3. Douglas. 4. Manogue.

Regional Champion: Carson.

Surprise team: Manogue.

Actual results: Playoff teams: High Desert: 1. Reed. 2. Hug. 3. Elko. 4. Spanish Springs. Sierra: 1. Carson. 2. Galena. 3. Wooster. 4. Manogue.

Regional Champion: Galena.

Surprise teams: Galena and Hug. Set free from the hierarchy of the tough Sierra League, Hug soared into the playoffs and nearly won a league title. Galena, on the other hand, handled the transition to the Sierra with ease. This was my worst sport as far as the predictions went.

Girls’ Soccer

My picks: Playoff teams: High Desert: 1. Reed. 2. Reno. 3. Spanish Springs. 4. McQueen. Sierra: 1. Douglas. 2. Carson. 3. South Tahoe. 4. Galena.

Regional Champion: Douglas.

Surprise team: Douglas.

Actual results: Playoff teams: High Desert: 1. Reed. 2. Elko. 3. Spanish Springs. 4. McQueen. Sierra: 1. Douglas. 2. Galena. 3. South Tahoe. 4. Carson.

Regional champion: Reed.

Surprise team: Douglas.

My thoughts: Outside of an exceptionally tough game against Reed in the championships and a midseason setback against Galena, Douglas was next to unbeatable. Coming into the year, Douglas had one just one playoff game in the past three seasons and hadn’t won a league title since 2004.

Douglas High School softball coach Andy Mitchell found himself doing a quick “costume change” between the signings of Megan Mitchell and Stephanie Harper last Wednesday, which marked the opening of the early signing period for colleges across the country.

In one, he was the proud father wearing a Lees-McRae shirt while Megan signed, and the other, he put on his Douglas High shirt and was the proud softball coach as Harper signed with Concord.

In the middle of all this, friends and family also managed to change tablecloths and nameplates on the table.

Tryouts for basketball and wrestling began this weekend and the seasons for each sport begin in the first week of December (the boys’ hoops team open against Hug on Saturday of next week).

– The Reed football team has 21 wide receivers listed on its roster. That’s out of 47 players.

– Douglas, on the other hand, has 22 players listed as either offensive or defensive linemen. Looking at the overall characteristics of each team, that actually matches up pretty well.

– A Sierra League team has not won the Northern 4A state girls’ soccer championship since Douglas did it in 2002.

– Up until this year, the same four teams had qualified for the girls’ soccer playoffs out of the Sierra League for the last 11 seasons. The same was said for the High Desert League (10 consecutive seasons) until last year when Spanish Springs made the cut above Galena.

– Damonte Ranch football 9, Hug 7. This is one of the bigger upsets in the Northern 4A playoffs in the last five years – Maybe more. It’s not even so much that Damonte won, which is impressive enough in itself, but it was that the Mustang defense held the potent Hawks to just one touchdown.

Only one other team (McQueen, with its four or five D-I recruits on defense) held Hug to less that 20 points this year. One computer formula has Hug ranked near the top 100 schools in the Western United States.

– Alamo football 128, Coleville 74. What can you really say about this one? Coleville quarterback Jason Peters separated his shoulder on the first drive of the game and still came back to throw 10 touchdown passes … and he was still on the losing side.

– Yerington volleyball sweeps state title match against Truckee. Each time these two teams have met up in recent years, it has been a back-and-forth barn-burner. The Lions not only swept the Wolverines for the state title, they did it with a plus-27 point differential. That is a flat-out whoopin’ in volleyball terms.

– Reed football running game. A lot is made about the Raiders’ passing game, but Reed rolled up 321 yards on the ground Friday night against Douglas. The three teams that were able to put up 200-plus rushing yards on the Tigers this year were the same three that handed Douglas all of its losses. In total, Reed gained more yards (589) than any other of Douglas’ opponents this season.

– Not-so-much. Manogue football 48, Reno 6. Reno is a very good team and will be even better next year. What this game showed, though, is that Manogue is a legitimate threat to win the regional title. When the Miners can ride their strong running backs, they are very tough to stop.

If I had a vote for overall player of the year in the Northern 4A Regional football honors ballots (and I don’t), this is what it would look like, based mostly on their respective performances over the last week:

1. Kyle Van Noy, McQueen; 2. Tyler York, McQueen, 3. Patrick Riggs, Manogue; 4. Tim Rudnick, Douglas; 5. Christian Thompson, Reed

The top athletes, regardless of sport, at Douglas High determined by production during competition, overall value to their team, ability to perform with consistency in routine situations, performance compared to others at the same position throughout the state/region, ability to come up big in clutch situations, versatility, attitude, sportsmanship, overall athletic ability, heart, potential at the next level, and a host of other intangibles (emotional leadership, role-playing value, work ethic, etc.) This is all, of course, just my opinion.

Fall Sports

1. Bethany Wurster, golf

2. Amelia Ritger, tennis

3. Ally Freitas, soccer

4. Megan Mitchell, volleyball

5. Tanner Thomas, football

6. Tim Rudnick, football

7. Tia Lyons, soccer

8. Taylor Biaggi, cross country

9. Taryn Williams, volleyball

10. Ross Gardner, soccer

If there were more spots on the list: Alex Laing, soccer; Jourdan Burke, volleyball; Katie Dry, girls’ soccer; Johnny Pollack, football; Jessica Waggoner, volleyball; James TenBroeck, tennis; Parker Robertson, football; Brian Randall, soccer; Mysta Townsell, volleyball; Mackenzie Cauley, soccer.

Color Commentator: “They have more uniform changes than a Madonna concert”

Play-by-play guy: “I thought you were going to say Cher.” – From the Oregon-California football game.

I was watching the Notre Dame-Navy football game (a.k.a., we call it a rivalry because we wear the same uniforms) on Saturday and had this thought cross my mind:

A lot gets said about “recruiting difficulties” when you bring up programs like Stanford or Notre Dame. With such high academic standards, the reasoning goes, it is adds another hurdle to clear in the already crowded recruiting game.

But what about programs like Navy (or Army or Air Force for that matter)? They have a lot more “recruiting difficulties” than the Stanfords and Notre Dames of the world, you know, once you tack on the whole congressional, senatorial or presidential nomination, strict eligibility requirements and stringent interview process.

Oh yeah, and once you graduate, you serve a minimum of five years as a commissioned officer. And yet, Navy seems to do just fine (as of late) in the college football world.

– I remember when I was in the third or fourth grade, a buddy of mine was carrying around a box of dog biscuits that he swore were cookies. I believed him. I had a bite of my daughter’s chicken noodle dinner last week and had one horrible flashback.

Proximity wasn’t a bad strategy – at least no worse than anything else I’ve tried this year. We’ll try it again this week.

You can still sign up for the weekly contest at http://www.recordcourier.profootball.upickem.net.

Here are my picks for the week:

Bengals over Steelers

Lions over Buccaneers

49ers over Cowboys

Browns over Texans

Ravens over Eagles

Falcons over Panthers

Vikings over Jaguars

Jets over Titans

Bears over Rams

Patriots over Dolphins

Chiefs over Bills

Raiders over Broncos

Cardinals over Giants

Seahawks over Redskins

Packers over Saints

Tiebreaker: Chargers 21, Colts 14

Season record: 79-81. Record last week: 9-7. Season survivor: Out.

– Sawyer is allergic to shirts. (This is actually a Kurt Hildebrand line, but funny to me just the same).

Irrational Fear: Puppets

Guilty Pleasure: The Muppet Movie