Battle Born Preps "All 23"
With the high school football season beginning on Friday, I wanted to release my second annual "All 22" newly referred to as the "Battle Born Preps All 23" Northern Nevada preseason teams. The following list is my opinion of the best players in the North at their respective positions. One thing I hope you'll notice is the "Battle Born Preps All 23" is meant to reflect the actual number of positions on a football field at any given time as well as an Athlete. I also took some feedback from last year and incorporated special teams guys in the mix, you'll see a kicker, punter, return specialist and long snapper on each of the two teams I created. I hope the players who made the list continue to grow and get better, I also hope the players who didn't make the list develop, get better, and 'prove me wrong.' A rising tide brings up all ships and without further ado, here's the list... enjoy.
First Team Offense
QB Bryce Adams, Senior, Churchill County: Adams is one of only a few signal callers returning in Northern Nevada this season. He captained his squad to the Northern 3A East League Regular Season Championship and was named Offensive Player of the Year in the process. He threw for 1,723 yards and 17 touchdowns last season while only throwing one pick. It was his ability to make the correct read and limit turnovers that earned him this spot heading into the season. He is also a dual threat, averaging 6.5 yards per carry while scoring a TD.
RB Cody Fleischmann, Senior, Bishop Manogue: Talk about production when your number is called. Fleischmann began last season as the second, possibly third option in the backfield. By the end of the season he was the clear No. 1, having ran for 1,216 yards and 11 touchdowns on 168 carries during his varsity career. Coach Howren said "he is fast, and physical. Smart who has an unmatched attention to detail when it comes to what we expect him to do in our offense." He is poised for a huge senior season.
RB Eli Finlayson, Senior, Elko: Finlayson is the Top Returning RB in the Northern 3A and is more than deserving of a spot on this squad. In two years on varsity he has accounted for 2,567 rushing yards on 359 carries with 36 TD's. According to the NIAA's website he is 847 yards away from entering the 'Top Five' in career rushing yards for the 3A. He also only needs 16 more rushing TDs to break into the 'Top Five' for career TD's in the 3A. He has the potential to be the State MVP in the 3A.
WR Ben Scolari, Senior, Bishop Manogue: Scolari has 17 receiving touchdowns heading into his senior year. I expect him to expand upon that total this coming season. If he's able to corral ten receiving touchdowns this season, he'll place his name firmly in the 'Top 20' of the NIAA's record books for career touchdown receptions. He only needs to average one per game to complete this task, and that seems to be a foregone conclusion.
WR Trace Estes, Senior, Douglas: An elite three-sport athlete, Estes has the speed to take the top off defenses and make catches beyond the second and third-levels. He is a legit 6-foot-4 according to Coach Mays who also displays "zero fear going across the middle." In two years on varsity he is responsible for 29 receptions, 414 yards and a touchdown as a wide receiver.
TE Anthony Comba, Senior, Reed: One of many seniors that began playing on Reed's varsity as sophomores two seasons ago, Comba is a huge red zone target, measuring 6-foot-5 and almost 200 pounds. Need proof? Last season he scored a touchdown almost every other time he touched the ball corralling seven receptions for 47 yards and three touchdowns.
OL Tyler Miller, Senior, Galena: Miller, the recent Nevada commit, has the potential to be the next Harvey Dahl/Austin Corbett from Northern Nevada. Already a three-star recruit, He is a mountain of a man, that will look to go out in style his Senior season. He is expected to graduate early so that he can be ready to enroll and go through spring practices at Nevada following this season. I'm excited to see him before he heads up No. Virginia St. Coach Cook stated that "Tyler has that 'It' factor you look for in Division-I players, he's also a great leader who is patient with the younger kids and volunteers a ton." Big shoutout to Coach Ken Wilson and his staff for getting after the local kid and securing his verbal commitment.
OL Justin Rickett, Senior, McQueen: A starter on McQueen's Regional Championship team two years ago, Rickett has struggled with injuries, but I believe that this is the year he re-emerges and dominates. He has a nastiness to his game that reminds me of Mike Iupati when he was at Idaho.
OL Jay Pouono, Senior, Bishop Manogue: Dominant tackle on an offense that is expected to put up a ton of points this season after averaging 439 yards of total offense per game and 42.3 points per game last season.
OL Dun Dun Bloomfield, Senior, Reed: The strength of the Raiders lies within the offensive line. This unit is good and ready to make an impact. Bloomfield is the vocal leader of this group and let's his play set the example. He paved the way for Spencer Firebaugh's breakout season last year. He'll look to improve and make a name for himself this season.
OL Sam Richetta, Senior, Carson: For the second season in a row Richetta was selected as an All-Region honoree by area coaches. He is a mountain of a man, who continues to show his intelligence being able to play multiple positions along the offensive and defensive lines. Coach Boshard told me prior to last season that Richetta had "the highest ceiling of any player on the Senators roster."
First Team Defense
DL Salesi Manu, Senior, Bishop Manogue: Manu has the potential to make it to the NFL. He has had steady progression in his last three years, getting bigger, faster and stronger each year while not losing any of his speed or explosiveness. He currently has 110 Tackles, 35 TFL, 12.5 Sacks and Two Forced Fumbles to his credit for the Miners. It was reported that he sits at 12 Division-I offers right now including Nevada, Arizona State, Washington State, Colorado State and UNLV.
DL Braelen Toles, Senior, Damonte Ranch: A dominant force along the defensive line who is tough to handle and even harder to block, Toles has racked up 128 tackles, 37 TFL, and 21.5 sacks in the last two years for the Mustangs. With five more sacks this season he'll put his name in the NIAA record book Top 10 for career sacks. Coach Gregg said "we have seen improvement in him, he is more well rounded in all aspects of his game - he is a true every down guy now."
DL Trenton Ross, Senior, Spanish Springs: A darkhorse candidate for Defensive Player of the Year Ross' biggest contributions come on defense as he was responsible for 43 tackles, 10 TFLs, two sacks, an interception and a defensive TD on a 'scoop and score' against Marin Catholic (Calif.) early in the season. He'll look to make a name for himself this season.
LB Cooper Park, Senior, Reed: Park has been a stalwart on the Raiders defense for the past two seasons, having racked up 143 tackles, six tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Coach Hughes was quick to note "[Cooper] had a great offseason, he'll finish his career as a three year varsity starter, he really is a do-it-all at MLB." High praise for a kid that has the ability to play himself into multiple scholarship opportunities this season. Cooper is someone who I'll be paying attention to this season.
LB Cole Smalley, Senior, Douglas: Built in the same mold as his older brother Christopher Smalley (Nevada LB), Cole stepped out of his brother's shadow last year and has not looked back. He is like the 'Tazmanian Devil' on the football field. As the saying goes 'The proof is in the pudding' and Smalley has racked up 182 tackles, 17 TFLs, four sacks, two interceptions, and a forced fumble in his two years on varsity. I expect big things from him this season, and when he delivers, the offers will start to roll in with Cornell recently offering and Nevada poking around in Minden once again.
LB Marrio Williams Jr., Senior, Bishop Manogue: A High-Motor Guy that is fast and violent. Williams has great cover skills with athleticism to boot. Coach Howren said "He outworks everyone, is one of the best defensive player in our league, and is a true D-I guy that will carve out his own path." A diamond in the rough he has 137 tackles, 28 TFL and 8.5 sacs in three years on varsity.
LB Max Ellermeyer, Senior, Truckee (Calif.): Ellermeyer was named Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the 3A West last year en route to being named 3A All State as Truckee rolled their way to victory in the state championship game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. Back for a shot at another crown I am being told that Ellermeyer is even better this year. Only time will tell what the future holds for this young man.
DB Tre LaGrone, Senior, McQueen: LaGrone is a 'Next-Level Athlete' and will be able to display his athleticism at the controls in the back half of the defense this year. He is coming off a spring and summer that saw him get bigger, faster and stronger. Marner reiterated "Tre is one of the best players in the North, and he has the highest ceiling of anyone on our roster." High praise for a kid whose biggest accomplishments may still be to come.
DB Jackson Sellers, Senior, Reno: If you've been around Northern Nevada for any amount of time you know that one name is synonymous with 'Greatness' in our area, that name is Sellers and similar to what I wrote about Jackson last year He's a Stud!!! A ballhawk on defense and willing to make his opponents pay, he makes his presence felt for a full 48 minutes, impacting the game in every facet. Always willing to make opposing receivers nervous he patrols the defense unafraid to lay the wood at a moment's notice.
DB Cael Sellers, Senior, Elko: Last season's Northern 3A East Most Valuable Player, Sellers, is a "Jack of all Trades" and more than capable at playing every position on the football field. Coach Sellers described him as a "good athlete, that has a chip on his shoulder heading into this season." He later went on to say that "we expect him to show his senior leadership this season" and "make good decisions on d[efense]." Cael has tallied 120 tackles, 3.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, two interceptions, two blocked kicks and a blocked punt over the last two seasons.
DB Bronwyn Rios, Sophomore, Reed: Rios came on last year to start for the Raiders as a freshman, which is almost unheard of. Hughes stated "[He] does a little bit of everything and can make you miss." When I saw him last year his body type reminded me of MJD, Hughes said that in the offseason "[Bronwyn] got bigger, faster, stronger, and more athletic." Hughes said that Rios now checks in around 195 [pounds] after being around 180 last year. Hughes was also quick to point out that "[his] football IQ is through the roof; we're excited to have him for three more years."
First Team Special Teams
K Cesar Gonzales, Senior, Churchill County: Gonzales always seems to keep the Greenwave in control of field position as evidenced by his seven touchbacks on kickoffs last season. He'll be leaned upon to put points on the board in the rare case that the offense sputters this season.
P Johnnie Williams, Senior, Fernley: A player I first discovered during hoops last year, Williams is a competitor - love his relentlessness. A true "Jack of all Trades" his biggest contributions may have come on special teams, where he forced opposing offenses to consistently play from the shadow of their own end zone, having bombed ten percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks and forty percent of his punts landing inside the twenty yard line. Coach Sloan quote "Really productive for us flipping the field, entering his third year on varsity, a tremenous athlete who gives 100-percent all the time, we are excited for him, he'll play multiple positions for us."
RS Domenic Marconato, Senior, Bishop Manogue: Last year while writing for a different entity I penned the following "Marconato has 12 kick returns for 274 yards, an average of almost 23 yards per return. Don't be surprised if he gets one into the end zone this season." Well guess what? He did just that in only three returns all season - he returned one 95-yards for a touchdown. He's the obvious choice here. He's a speedster at wideout to boot.
LS Cian Stack, Junior, Bishop Manogue: Stack has accumulated 70 Tackles, 16.5 TFL, 8.5 Sacks, and Two Forced Fumbles in two years on varsity. Coach Howren was quick to point out that he is a great "weight room guy." He also has the potential to be a high-level long snapper in college.
Athlete Miles Kelly-Caruthers, Senior, Truckee: If you've ever heard of Dylan Sumner think of this kid. Equally as physical but a pinch more cerebral he has been starting on the Truckee Wolverines Varsity squad since his Sophomore year. He's expected to get more touches offensively this year and could approach double digit TDs in the process, but one thing is apparent, he'll still be striking fear into the hearts and minds of opposing receivers coming across the middle against Truckee's vaunted 'Red Dawn' Defense.
Second Team Offense
QB Philip Jacobs, Senior, Bishop Manogue: This spot is based on projection over production and was going to go to either Jacobs or Tate Hummel of Spanish Springs. I decided to go with Jacobs because he's got a few more weapons riding along side of him this season and they know how to execute having been in the program for multiple years now. Jacobs completed almost seventy percent of his passes last season while throwing for 193 yards and a TD.
RB Zach Eaton, Junior, Spanish Springs: Eaton took over as the starter at RB around mid-season for the Cougars and never looked back. Over the last two season he has totaled 834 rushing yards and five touchdowns on only 147 carries - an average of almost 5.7 yards per carry. Coach Hummel described him as "solid last year, and [the leader of a] deep RB group for us this year."
RB Connor Jackson, Senior, Douglas: One of the area's top returning running backs, Jackson has upped his game each of the past two seasons. Coach Mays was quick to point out that Jackson has gotten "quicker than last year," after he went out for Track this past spring and "worked on his form." He has racked up 662 yards on the ground to go along with five touchdowns and Mays expects him to be the Tigers "workhorse" this coming season while playing defense rotationally. Don't be surprised to see him break a big one in the return game either.
WR Chris Shakespeare, Senior, Spanish Springs: Shakespeare burst on to the scene as the Cougars slot receiver last season. He caught 31 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns. Coach Hummel said he has "speed, and good hands - very good ball skills."
WR Austin Reasbeck, Senior, Spring Creek: Another "Jack-of-all-Trades," Reasbeck is the key to Spring Creek becoming unstoppable on defense. In my opinion he will challenge for best WR in the 3A and he has the stats and experience to back it up. He'll be looked upon as a leader in helping guide the Spartans back to the State Tournament this coming season.
TE Carter Eck, Senior, Bishop Manogue: Howren was to quick to rave about Eck, who he described as "a good receiver who blocks amazing and is a real technician of the game." He continued on, stating that he is a "Great football player and person - definitely one of our 'faces of the program.'" Eck has one touchdown offensively to go along with 26 tackles defensively for the Miners.
OL Colin Banning, Junior, Spring Creek: Banning is a beast, he has great physical makeup and I'd project him to be a center or guard at the next level. He was able to help Spring Creek go on a magical run to the State Semifinal last season. He currently has a Nevada offer and another postseason run will increase his chances at more scholarship offers from the next level. He's quick on his feet and has violent hands, college coaches should take notice of him.
OL Cormac Anderson, Junior, Spanish Springs: Anderson is coming off ACL surgery following wrestling season but is expected to make his return to the Cougs lineup by week three. He is a tough, physical kid that gets downhill in a hurry. He would be a huge addition to Spanish Springs as the league season heats up.
OL Mataio Aiono, Junior, Reed: The strength of the Raiders lies within the offensive line. This unit is good and ready to make an impact. Aiono was recently offered a scholarship by The University of Nevada. He'll look to improve and make a name for himself this season.
OL Dre Villanueva, Junior, Damonte Ranch: A road grader in the running game, Villanueva will be looked upon to anchor the line of scrimmage for the Mustangs. Coach Gregg said "we are real confident in their abilities and they will lead us," when referring to his offensive line.
OL Sean Reeder, Senior, Churchill County: Coach Hill said that the trenches set the tone and his team's keys to success this season are the belief and trust they have in one another, "they have a specialness about them." Reeder will look to return to the dominant form he displayed as a Sophomore.
Second Team Defense
DL Naron Antone, Senior, Fernley: Antone was named First Team All League last season as a Junior so you know he has the physical tools to dominate, but he is also a great leader who speaks up and leads the Vaqueros naturally and with ease. Coach Sloan said "he eats up blocks defensively - is physical and athletic offensively, which is essential to success from our guards with the type of offense we run."
DL Rylan Lopez, Senior, Truckee (Calif.): A key cog in the middle of Truckee's defense that went on a run and held opposing offenses well below their season averages, winning nine straight games to end the season. Lopez was responsible for 31 tackles, three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks last year. He'll be a difference maker as Truckee looks to repeat this coming season.
DL Baylor Sandberg, Senior, Churchill County: Baylor Sandberg will be expected to control the line of scrimmage and make a difference for the Greenwave this season. Coach Hill said that the trenches set the tone and his team's keys to success this season are the belief and trust they have in one another, "they have a specialness about them." Sandberg is a force to be reckoned with and will contend for 3A Defensive MVP Honors this season.
LB Champ Notyce, Senior, Reno: Stocky like Mike Tyson, Champ packs a punch. Last season he was responsible for 93 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception. I think he's poised for an even greater senior season. When I watch him I see a little NaVorro Bowman to his game in the way that he pursue sideline-to-sidleline with great vision. Coach Wintch was quick to point out that Champ "[has] great leadership, and he'll finish his career as a three year varsity starter." If the Huskies are gonna make noise defensively this season, it'll be because Champ put opposing offenses on Notyce.
LB Saili Aonga, Senior, Hug: Aonga has been on varsity since his freshman year. He has totaled 103 tackles, five TFLs, a sack, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in that time. He led the team in tackles last season, "he's a good tackler and he has a chance to be a legit Division-I prospect this season if he puts it all together" said Coach Doucette. If he's healthy he's a breakout candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
LB Sione Vakapuna, Senior, Reed: Vakapuna stepped up as a leader this offseason, as Coach Hughes puts it "[He] loves impact, he's a legit 215 [pound] hammerhead with wiggle." Hughes was quick to point out that "[Vakapuna] is improved, physical, [an] old school type of player, someone you love to have on your team." Look for him to make an impact defensively at OLB.
LB JoJo Czyz, Senior, Galena: Like I said last year Czyz is an animal at linebacker constantly running sideline-to-sideline in pursuit of the opposing team's top playmakers. Czyz prefers defense as evidence of his 183 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions through two years on Varsity, but he can get it done with the ball in his hands. Coach Cook said "Czyz is the rock of our group - he wants to go, always looking to get faster and be more productive."
DB Dominick Ruiz, Senior, Spanish Springs: The 'Dominator' as I refer to him is back for his Senior season for the Cougars. He was the perfect compliment to Nate Penney last season but will step into the lead role for the Cougars defensive backfield. A state champion wrestler, he sealed the win for the Cougars in their highly anticipated playoff matchup against crosstown rival Reed last season, intercepting a pass to seal the win for the Cougs. He also had 39 tackles last season and Coach Hummel described him as "experienced back there, a [really] tough kid."
DB Breck Worthen, Senior, Reno: He will be expected to team with Sellers in what will surely be a 1-2 combo that will be tough for opposing defenses to scheme against. The Huskies will do their best to impose their will against their opponents and Worthern will be there to drop the hammer. His greatest contributions this season might come as RB1 in the Huskies crowded backfield, regardless, he'll have an impact every single game.
DB Colson Kermode, Junior, Galena: I have Kermode listed as an Athlete right now because it seems like he can do anything you ask him to on the football field. Nevada HC Ken Wilson has already offered him a scholarship and he could play defense at the next level because as Cook states "he is a safety that seeks contact, and with a good season, he could blow up offers wise." He's a potential Player of The Year candidate in Northern Nevada.
DB Jadyn Buckner, Senior, Bishop Manogue: Buckner burst on to the scene last year as a junior, proving to be the next in a long line of Miners defensive backs. Coach Howren called him "one of the leaders in our defensive backfield, and he's expected to be a playmaker this season." With the talent the Miners have in the front seven Buckner should put up monster stats this year.
Second Teams Special Teams
K Takeo Cervantez, Senior, Bishop Manogue: Cervantez, the recent Nevada Baseball commit has decided that he would try his hand at a different fall sport this season after experiencing a ton of success on the pitch as a futbol player the last handful of years. Cervantez will replace Michael Rubino as the Miners Kicker this season, after being named a Second Team 3A West Coaches Selection last year en route to the Miners winning the 3A State Championship in Boys Soccer last fall. Could he make it back-to-back State Championship in different fall sports, only time will tell but I like his chances this season.
P Chase Busick, Junior, North Valleys: Busick was named All-League as a Punter last season but Rose stated that "He has just really fallen in love with defense." Big things are on the horizon for Busick as he can play all over the field on all sides of the ball - including playing a little QB for the Panthers last season. Be on the lookout for him to make a name for himself this season.
RS Lucas Shannon, Senior, Bishop Manogue: Shannon averaged over 29 yards per kick return last season and was mentioned by Howren as a "kid we really like, who is dangerous in the return game and secondary." He is likely to take one to the house this season.
LS Preston Chamberlin, Senior, Elko: Often the forgotten man amongst the unending number of seniors the Indians have this season, Chamberlin is a three-sport athlete that is dominant whenever he steps on the field. Over two seasons on Varsity he has racked up a touchdown pass, 877 receiving yards, nine receiving touchdowns on offense while making 42 tackles and intercepting two passes on defense. He has a nose for the ball and is also considered a next-level athlete as a long snapper. He has No. 1 receiver potential this season.
Athlete Ethan Tarner, Senior, Churchill County: Described by Coach Hill as an H-Back I will refer to Tarner as an Athlete as he can play on the defensive line and most skill positions offensively while handling the Greenwave's punting duties. Tarner is responsible for 46 receptions, 719 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns in his first two Varsity seasons. He has also tallied 35 tackles (32 solo), six tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on defense. Watch the tape, this kid gets it done.
J. Ray Dockter has been covering high school sports since 2022. If you have a story worth telling let him know via Twitter @J_RayDoc.