Northern 3A football is competitive top to bottom
So, is there a more competitive high school football league anywhere in Nevada right now than the Northern 3A?
Probably not. Just look at the scoreboard from last Friday night: Dayton beat Spring Creek, 17-10, on a touchdown pass with one second remaining … Fernley was a 37-34 winner over previously unbeaten Sparks … and, in the lone lopsided contest, Truckee scored 23 points during a span of 2:46 at the end of the second quarter to beat Lowry 43-7.
Five of the league’s six teams have compiled winning records to date and the cumulative record is 21-10, including five wins against Northern 4A opponents. Dayton picked up a 14-13 win against Bishop, a playoff-caliber program in Southern California (and a team that opened the season with a 10-0 win at Truckee). Meanwhile, Truckee won home games against Piedmont, 33-7, and Winters, 40-7 ” both playoff qualifiers in California last year.
Then again, this is exactly what Truckee coach Bob Shaffer predicted back in August.
“There’s going to be a lot of parity, which means you have to come well prepared to play everybody,” he said. “And that’s good. I think everybody likes to see good, competitive games. The fans do. The players do. The coaches do.”
This is much like what medium-size school football in Nevada looked like in the 1970s with Northern AA leagues that featured such programs as Elko, Fallon, Bishop Manogue, Douglas and Yerington ” a time when the towns were all small and the rivalries extremely fierce.
There were more competitive games in the ’80s. Even though Douglas, Fallon and later Elko moved up to the large schools division, those schools were replaced by quality Truckee and North Tahoe programs. Then in the ’90s, it was more of the same with the old I-80 league that featured battles between Truckee, North Tahoe, Manogue, Lowry and Spring Creek.
Looking ahead, there should be plenty of great games leading up to the state playoffs in November. Truckee (1-0, 3-2) visits Fernley (1-0, 4-2) and Spring Creek (0-1, 4-1) hosts Sparks (0-1, 4-1) in pivotal contests tonight, while Dayton (1-0, 5-0) hosts a Lowry squad (0-1, 1-4) that is battling numbers issues.
Dayton is looking at a big trip to Truckee next Saturday, while Spring Creek visits Surprise Stadium one week later on Oct. 14 ” games that looked highly significant from the moment the schedules were announced.
Don’t look too far ahead, though. Remember what Shaffer said. Everybody has to come ready to play every single week.
And that’s what makes Northern 3A football so much fun.