Reno’s Cole Nason , left, and Hug’s Zohnathan Williams fight for a pass in the first quarter. Nason came away with an interception and his return set up Reno’s first score.
It was a classic test of strength versus strength Friday night at Reno High’s Foster Field.
And the Huskies turned out to be just a bit stronger.
Reno leaned on its power running game, charging again and again into the teeth of a strong Hug defense, and got three field goals out of its kicking game to take a 22-7 win over the Hawks in a hard-hitting High Desert League game.
The Huskies’ win, in front of a large homecoming crowd, left both teams at 5-2 overall and 1-1 in High Desert games.
Reno running back Cole Eddy was the Huskies’ workhorse Friday, often taking direct snaps. He carried 36 times, almost all going between the tackles, and finished with 135 yards and Reno’s first touchdown.
Twenty of his rushes went for gains between two and six yards.
“The way Hug defends is very aggressive,” Reno coach Dan Avansino said. “Lots of speed, so we knew we couldn’t run (to the) perimeter. We had to make the adjustment. We thought we could power run … but we didn’t finish drives. We kicked three field goals and got stopped on a few others, and that’s because of Hug.”
Late in the second half, backup Cameron Daugherty took over the same role, rushing 10 times on direct snaps to keep the Hug defense on the field and the clock moving. With the Huskies often going with two blocking backs in the backfield, there were times when all 22 players on the field occupied the same small box.
“It’s tough after awhile, but whatever gets the job done, I’ve got to get it done for the team,” Eddy said. “They came out and showed us why they’re the best defense, and I believe that we came out ready to play (too).”
The Hug defense, which entered the game as the top-ranked unit in Division I North, was at its strongest in its own territory. Three Reno drives ended with short field goals from Daniel Jimenez after the Hawks were able to keep the Huskies out of the end zone.
“They came out, and they were tougher than us tonight,” Hug coach Carl LaGrone said. “They did what they did, we knew what they were going to do, and we couldn’t stop them.
“We made some stops inside the 5, but I think we had three plays (on offense) the whole third quarter. They kept the ball the whole time. We’ve got to make stops on fourth down.”
The Hawks, though, hurt their cause with some untimely mistakes. Reno picked off two passes and blocked a punt late in the first half that led to Jimenez’s second field goal and a 13-7 halftime lead.
Reno went to the air for the last score of the night, with quarterback Jeremy Smith hooking up with receiver Brock Tsukamoto, who made a nice leaping grab in the end zone for a 15-yard score.
On defense, the Huskies turned in what has become their usual strong effort. In all five of its wins, Reno has held its opponent to seven or fewer points.
RENO 22, HUG 7
MOMENTUM CHANGE: Instead of going into the locker room tied at 7, Reno kicked two field goals in the last 2:27 of the first half to take a 13-7 lead. The second came after a blocked punt.
SPREADING IT OUT: Although Cole Eddy had the bulk of Reno’s touches on offense, the Huskies also managed to complete passes to seven different receivers.
NEXT UP: Reno goes on the road to play Spanish Springs on Friday; Hug will visit Reed on Friday.