High school football: League portion of schedule begins this week

High school football: League portion of schedule begins this week

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High school football: League portion of schedule begins this week

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And now it’s time for everyone to be 0-0 again.

Well, most everyone.

The all-important league schedules begin Friday for the bulk of Division I North teams, although a pair of games last week gave four teams an early start.

So, whatever their nonleague records might be — whether 5-0 (Galena) or 0-5 (Hug) — it’s a clean slate for everyone and a month-long sprint to the playoffs. The nonleague season is for bragging rights and fine-tuning, but now, more than ever, every game counts.

Here’s five things to consider as the region’s biggest division makes its transition from nonleague to league games:

The survivors

Only two Division I North teams finished the first half of the season with unblemished records.

No. 2 Galena (5-0) beat four High Desert League teams after opening the season with a road win at Lassen (Calif.). No. 1 Reed (4-0) did much the same, dismantling three Sierra League teams after beginning with a road victory in northern California.

The similarities don’t end there. Both teams are getting the job done with flashy offenses that are putting up big numbers. Reed’s point totals have gone up every week — 38, 48, 53, 64 — despite playing parts of its last two games with a running clock in the second half. Galena has scored between 38 and 48 points in all five of its outings and has its three top offensive players at or near the top of their respective individual categories.

Both teams begin their league seasons Friday, with Galena at home against Douglas, and Reed, at home for the third straight week, playing McQueen.

Speaking of offense, Galena tailback Ben Barnard has to be considered the region’s breakout player of the year so far.

After spending the 2012 season sharing the backfield with two capable seniors, Barnard has gotten the bulk of the carries this year for the unbeaten Grizzles. And he’s made the most of them.

With 314 yards Friday against Hug, Barnard became the first Division I back to go over 1,000 yards for the season. He has 1,009 yards in five games and is averaging nearly 7.5 yards per attempt.

Drama class

Spanish Springs has played only four times this season, but two of its games have had dramatic finishes not decided until the final seconds.

The Cougars (2-2) opened the season with a 32-27 loss to Damonte Ranch in a game that came down to the final play, a game-saving tackle by the Damonte defense three yards in front of its goal line.

Friday, Spanish Springs converted a long fourth-down play on its final drive, then scored with half a minute to play to pull within a point of Douglas. A successful two-point conversion gave the Cougars a 15-14 win.

Spanish Springs quarterback Hunter Fralick passed a season-high 41 times in an effort to rally the Cougars from a 14-0 deficit, completing 28.

Showdown looming

No. 1 Lowry (5-0) and No. 2 Fallon (4-0) have jumped to the front of the Division I-A title chase and appear to be the teams to beat for the league title.

Both have a one-game lead on Elko and Fernley in the league race, with the other six teams already two or more games behind.

Like Reed and Galena in the division above them, both the Buckaroos and the Greenwave have scary-good offenses. Lowry has averaged 47 points in its five wins, while Fallon has come in a full touchdown better, averaging 54 points per game.

Barring what would be a fairly significant upset, the teams appear poised to meet with unbeaten records for the Division I-A title on Nov. 1 — the final day of the regular season — in Fallon.

Sierra gets bragging rights

Teams from the High Desert and Sierra leagues met 21 times in the season’s first five weeks, with the Sierra League winning 13 times.

Galena (4-0) and Damonte Ranch (3-1) had the Sierra’s best intra-league records; Reed (3-0) and Reno (3-1) combined for six of the High Desert’s eight wins.

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High school football: League portion of schedule begins this week

And now it’s time for everyone to be 0-0 again.

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