Reed's come-from-behind victory over rival Spanish Springs in last week's Division I North semifinals did not come without cost. The Raiders will be without standout wide receiver Devin Gray in today's region championship.
Gray suffered a broken collarbone trying to make a diving catch late in the third quarter. The senior and state leader in receiving yards and touchdown catches will be out six weeks with the injury.
"It's really disappointing. I would do anything to play right now," Gray said as he watched his teammates go through practice earlier this week.
X-rays Saturday morning revealed the full extent of Gray's injury.
"I was hoping it was just a strain and I could play with some pain. But that's not what happened," he said.
Gray, at 6-feet-2 and 165 pounds with very good hands, had 93 catches for 1,329 yards and 17 touchdowns this year. He had seven receptions for 112 yards and two scores against the Cougars before he was hurt.
"I say it's a tough loss, but you know that kind of stuff is going to happen," Reed coach Ernie Howren said. "It's not like we're going to change our offense because he's not in there. We're going to run the things we run.
"Who can handle losing one of the best players in the North? The best player, though obviously I'm biased. There is nobody better than him. To lose that kind of a guy, you just have to find a way. But it's not going to be easy. ... Not having him line up with us on Friday night will be difficult, emotionally, too. But as a team we'll be all right."
Brett Chaney, Trae Wells and Casey Higgins will be asked to help fill the void left by Gray -- who likely will miss half of the basketball season as well.
Chaney is the team's second-leading receiver with 58 catches for 874 yards and six touchdowns. The senior had the victory-sealing touchdown catch last week.
"It's a huge loss. He's such a big part of our offense," Reed quarterback Mark Nowaczewski said of Gray. "So much of what we do is based him and his ability. It's always hard to replace someone like that but I think we have the right skill-set with other guys to do it."
Damonte ranked 10th in the 11-team region in pass defense during the regular season.
"It's unfortunate for them as that's about two touchdowns per game that they have to account for," Mustangs coach Shawn Dupris said. "But I also know they have other guys who can step up."
Dupris said his team has been "really lucky" in regards to injuries all season. Damonte was without an offensive lineman last week against McQueen because of a knee injury -- Dupris declined to name the player -- but he is expected to be back tonight.