Although plenty of upsets, chaos and hold-your-breath moments preceded it, the Division I North championship game ended up eventually filling its spots with the two league champions.
Reed (10-1) will be shooting for a third straight Northern championship, while Carson (9-2) will seek to break the High Desert League’s six-year hold on the title.
The teams meet at 7 p.m. Friday night at Damonte Ranch in the final Division I North football game of the season.
Elsewhere, it’s time for state championships.
Fallon looks to cap a memorable season Saturday, Yerington is the last remaining North team without a loss and a Southern Nevada powerhouse will try to extend an impressive winning streak.
Raiders, Senators will settle Division I
For Reed, keeping things set to the status quo would be just fine.
Reed has averaged 54 points in its two playoff wins and is only a short field goal away from being a perfect 11-0 on the year. Not to mention that the Raiders blew out Carson on Sept. 27, 64-26, in a game that actually featured a running clock in the second half.
That’s the part that Carson needs to change. The Senators were in the game at halftime — down, 21-19 — but gave up a series of big plays in a brutal sequence in the third quarter. Those few minutes were Carson’s worst stretch of the season.
Reed can strike quickly — just ask Galena, which looked like it was in great position to win the teams’ semifinal game last week. Carson’s biggest challenge Friday night will be to limit the Raiders’ huge, morale-crushing plays.
One more to go
With Coleville’s loss to Pahranagat Valley in the Division IV semifinals, Yerington (10-0) stands as the only remaining unbeaten team from a Northern league.
The Lions took care of business in emphatic fashion in the 49-7 Division III state semifinals win over The Meadows. In two playoff games, Yerington has outscored its opponents, 104-21.
One more test remains for the Lions. They’ll meet D-III South winner Mountain View (10-1) on Saturday to settle the state title.
Who will stop the Panthers?
Speaking of Pahranagat Valley, the Panthers (11-0) extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 68 games with a 62-14 demolition of a previously undefeated Coleville team in the Division IV state semifinals.
At this point, it looks like only the Panthers can stop the Panthers. A 48-point win over a talented, well-coached, unbeaten team is pretty scary stuff.
Spring Mountain (7-2) will get another chance when it meets Pahranagat for the Division IV state title on Saturday. The Panthers’ won the teams’ earlier meeting this season, 54-22.
Northern fans missed out on a chance to see Pahranagat in action when both Southern teams won their semifinal games. There was some talk over the weekend about keeping the Division IV state championship at Damonte Ranch on Saturday — its original slot — but it was determined Monday that the game would be moved to Indian Springs.
Wave keeps rolling on
Fallon’s dream season continued Saturday when the Greenwave handled previously unbeaten Moapa Valley, 34-24, in the Division I-A semifinals to secure a spot in the state title game.
The Greenwave have checked off just about everything on their to-do list: they beat Truckee, won a league championship, held serve during two home playoff games and showed they can play with the best teams from the Southern I-A.
Only one final item is left: winning the school’s first state title since 1978. Fallon plays Sunset Region champion Faith Lutheran (11-2) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Damonte Ranch.
Checking in down south
The Sunset and Sunrise regional playoffs are in full swing throughout Clark County.
Due to the odd number of regions in the NIAA’s Division I structure, the Sunrise is actually a full round ahead of the Sunset. The winner of Friday’s Reed-Carson game will host the Sunrise Region champion — either Liberty (9-3) or Green Valley (9-2) — on Nov. 30 in the state semifinals.
The Sunset, meanwhile, has played only one round of playoffs. Its regional championship game on Nov. 30 will double as the second state semifinal.