Carson High's football team stopped Reed from making the regional finals a year ago with a strong defensive performance in a 20-0 victory.
On Saturday at UNR's Mackay Stadium (12:15 p.m. kickoff), Carson hopes to have the same kind of success defensively when it meets the high-scoring Raiders in the NIAA 4A state semifinals.
Reed, led by quarterback A.J. Silva, has been the prohibitive favorite ever since practice started, and the Raiders have backed it up by scoring 50 or more points in seven of their 12 games. The Raiders enter the game averaging 52 points a contest. The most points the Raiders have allowed came in a 43-37 loss to Granite Bay.
Carson, meanwhile, enters the game averaging 36 a contest thanks to the playmaking efforts of running backs Dylan Sawyers and Chance Quilling, quarterback Matt Nolan and wide receiver Brock Pradere.
One shouldn't expect the Senators to be intimidated. Carson has actually won the last two meetings against the Raiders, 20-0 and 54-27, and both times were probably considered the underdog.
"We're coming in as the underdog, and that's fine," Carson quarterback Matt Nolan said. "We're excited to be in this game.
"I feel like our offense is playing pretty well and I feel our defense is playing pretty good. I think it will be a high-scoring game. We need to be able to run the ball well and mix in some passes."
Let's take a look at the last five match-ups:
Carson 20, Reed 0: There was a lot of hype entering the game because, by the luck of the draw, Carson didn't have to play either McQueen or Reed in the regular season so there were no doubts whether Carson could hang with the Raiders. Quite frankly it was no contest in this second-round playoff battle. The Senators forced three turnovers, two interceptions and a fumble recovery by Colby Blueberg. Carson outgained Reed 311-277. Dylan Sawyers scored two touchdowns and rushed for 189 yards.
Carson 54, Reed 27: The Raiders were heavily favored entering the game, but proved no match for the Senators, who forced six turnovers, including four interceptions, to win easily in a non-league match-up. It was the coming-out game for Blake Plattsmier, who threw for 146 yards and three scores and ran for 145 yards. Dylan Sawyers also had a big game with three scores. Reed outgained Carson 425-365 in the game, but couldn't overcome the turnovers.
Reed 47, Carson 14: This was the Tyler Pine Show. The Reed quarterback threw for five scores and ran one in. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 372 yards and threw just one interception. The Raiders' screen game gave Carson problems that night. Reed outgained the Senators 470-196. Mark Sinnott carried 25 times for 65 yards to lead Carson. Sinnott played the game despite battling strep throat.
Reed 37, Carson 0: Tony Maldanado threw three touchdown passes to lead the Raiders to the easy win in this first-round playoff game. Carson, under Shane Quilling, ended the season with a 5-6 record. Mitch Hammond threw four interceptions in the contest. Hammond was held to 40 yards passing. Travis Lamborn led the Senators with 98 yards on 20 carries to eclipse the 1,100-yard mark.
Reed 28, Carson 0: The Senators suited up just 26 players because of injuries and discipline issues. Carson was missing seven starters, and Shane Quilling was pleased with the effort his team played with. Reed's Zack May threw for 199 yards and Ryan Lammle ran for 142. Carson was held to 95 yards of total offense.