An offensive shootout came down to a defensive stop.
That interception, by Reno’s Isaiah Bowden, along with failed point-after attempts, helped Reno edge McQueen, 46-43, Thursday in a game for second place in the High Desert League.
Reno will be the second seed and host the Sierra League’s No. 3 team, Damonte Ranch, at 7 p.m., Nov. 6 in the first round of the Division I North playoffs. Reno senior Lukas McKenzie had a huge say in the outcome. He rushed for 305 yards on 28 carries, and had three TDs with 190 yards rushing in the first half as Reno led, 29-18.
For 47 minutes, both teams traded big plays. Reno’s defense came to life and forced McQueen to punt from its own 16 with 4 minutes, 2 seconds left.
But the Lancers’ defense rose to the occasion and held the Huskies on four plays, taking over on their own 42 with 1:43 left.
After an incomplete pass, Bowden, playing in the middle of the field, snared a high pass and came down with it on McQueen’s 48.
Reno has had the North’s top defense all season, giving up an average of 12 points per game. The most a Nevada team has scored on the Huskies this season was Reed’s 28.
“We don’t win it without our defense,” Reno coach Dan Avansino said. “Timely turnovers, a big interception. That’s why we go for it on fourth down. We know what our strength is. We run the ball, we play defense and if we can’t be who we are, then I’m OK losing. That’s kind of the philosophy of who we are and that’s what we do.”
Avansino said the Huskies simply went with what was working. McKenzie got the first five plays, taking some snaps directly from the center.
“McQueen’s skill players were a little bit superior, so we tightened up the box offensively and ran right at them,” Avansino said. “We didn’t play well, special teams-wise, we gave up a big play there. … It was an exciting game, it was a rivalry game. Hat’s off to McQueen for never giving up.”
Reno went ahead 46-30 after a 3-yard scoring run by McKenzie, but McQueen answered with a five-play drive, then held the Huskies on fourth down and scored on their next play to make it 46-43.
McQueen’s Tavian Cheathon caught two passes, both for touchdowns, one a 63-yard toss from Zach Ball late in the third quarter to make it 39-30 Reno, the other a 28-yarder that pulled McQueen within 3, 46-43. Zach Ball, playing in place of Joey Cox, had four touchdown passes.
McQueen’s Brandon Aiyuk, the Lancers’ punter, faked a punt early in the second half and raced down the right side, breaking several tackles, for a 67-yard score that pulled McQueen with 5, at 29-24.
McQueen did not convert an extra-point all game.
“They’re big, they’re strong and they’re physical,” McQueen coach Jim Snelling said of the Huskies. “I asked my kids to leave it all out here on the field. … and that’s what they did. We made plays at times; we didn’t make plays at times. Same thing could be said on the other side.”
Ian Cartlidge scored twice for Reno.Daniel Jimenez scored on a 32-yard interception return.McQueen will play at Galena in the first round of the playoffs.
Reed 56, Spanish Springs 17
North Valleys 34, Hug 0
Carson 42, Douglas 13
Reno 46, McQueen 43
Galena 34, Damonte Ranch 19
Wooster 19, Sparks 14
Fallon 48, Lowry 0
Fernley 48, Dayton 6
NORTHERN REGION PLAYOFFS
Douglas at Reed
Damonte Ranch at Reno
McQueen at Galena
Spanish Springs at Carson
All games, 7 p.m.