Each week, Winnemucca Publishing Sports Editor Tony Erquiaga ranks the Northern 3A football teams.
1. Fernley (Last Week 1). Fernley clinched the No. 1 seed in the Northern 3A with its win over Truckee last week. The Vaqueros jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter but need a last-second touchdown in the fourth quarter to win 28-21. If you include Dayton this week, Fernley basically has two bye weeks before starting its playoff run. It’s easy to get rusty with that much time off.
2. Truckee (Last Week 3). Any of the three teams at 6-2 can slot into this position. The Wolverines were 60 seconds away from knocking of the best team in the league on the road. I still think this is one of the top three teams in the league. Truckee better be ready to play rival South Tahoe this weekend. The Vikings would love to send the Wolverines into the playoffs with a loss. Truckee is on the short end of the tiebreakers though. It looks like the Wolverines might play South Tahoe two weeks in a row.
3. Spring Creek (Last Week 4). My premature demise of the defending 3A state runner-up was a bit premature. I left Spring Creek for dead after losses to Fernley and Truckee. Spring Creek jumped out to a 35-7 lead at halftime against Churchill County last week. The Spartans want one last chance to get back to the state championship. If I say they are back, are they going to let me down?
4. Churchill County (Last Week 2). I am not sure what to think of Churchill County. Ever since an opening-game loss to Fernley, the Greenwave were looking like a solid team. Churchill County ran into a buzz saw in Spring Creek last week. However, the Greenwave look good in the tiebreaker scenarios. If Spring Creek, Truckee and Churchill County win, the Greenwave are the No. 3 seed and would play either Sparks or Elko in the playoffs.
5. South Tahoe (Last Week 5). South Tahoe has been locked into this spot pretty much all year. The Vikings will likely be the No. 5 seed for the postseason, unless they beat Truckee this weekend.
South Tahoe started slow last week in Elko, but outscored the Indians 20-0 in the second half to avoid an upset. On any given day, the Vikings can be trouble for anyone.
6. Sparks (Last Week 6). Sparks reclaims its spot at No. 6 after a 38-27 win over Lowry. The Railroaders have a strong rushing game led by Jorge Dominguez.
The Buckaroos had trouble stopping him. A win by Sparks over Wooster and the Railroaders are in the playoffs for the first time in years.
7. Elko (Last Week 6). Elko had a chance to help itself in the playoff picture last week against South Tahoe. The Indians led 13-6 at halftime but their offense went silent after that. Elko needs to beat Spring Creek and Sparks lose to Wooster for the Indians to get in the playoffs.
8. Lowry (Last Week 8). The story of the year for Lowry has been close calls. The Buckaroos easily could have four wins this year instead of one. Going into the future, Lowry needs to find a way to win the close games. The Buckaroos were tied 20-20 at halftime with Sparks, but could not get the win.
9. Wooster (Last Week 9). Wooster collected its second win of the year with a 49-0 victory at Dayton last week. But everyone beats Dayton. Wooster can end its 3A stay on a high note with a win at Sparks. The Colts would love to ruin the day of the Railroaders in their final 3A game.
10. Dayton (Last Week 10). Dayton’s win over Lincoln County in August seemed like years ago. Since then it has been a disaster for the Dust Devils. This will likely be the third straight season with Dayton not winning a game in the Northern 3A.