Yes, the sample size is small, one game, and the opponent is in their first year in the 5A, but the reports of the imminent demise of Damonte Ranch Football may have been a bit premature. Friday night the Damonte Ranch Mustangs put together a complete effort on their way to a 51-0 victory over the Hug Hawks.
Senior running back DJ Gonzalez-Brown was the first Mustang to find the endzone with a five-yard touchdown in the first quarter. This touchdown came after the Mustangs defense held the Hug Hawks at midfield, forcing a turnover on downs. That came after an impressive opening drive, by the Mustangs, had been derailed by bad snaps from the center. The Mustangs had driven down inside the Hug 20, but bad snaps moved the ball back across midfield. The quarterback/center exchange issue is one the Mustangs will have to resolve for them to be a contender in the North this season.
In the second quarter, Gonzalez-Brown had an 89-yard touchdown run, putting the Mustangs ahead by two scores. Gonzalez-Brown showed toughness, elusiveness, and speed Friday night while on his way to 144 yards rushing. The Mustangs offense was run heavy with five Mustangs carrying the ball, for a total of 258 yards rushing. Junior Joey Jamison started at quarterback and shook off an interception on his first pass of the night, going 4-7, for 60 yards, and two touchdowns. The passing play of the night might belong to senior Jackson Papke, on what looked like a run play, but was a designed pass. Papke looked deep and had two Mustangs open with sophomore Amari Nash making the catch. Nash finished the night with five receptions for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Nash also had a tackle and an interception that he took back for a touchdown, but a flag during the return negated the touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior Braelen Toles continued his assault on the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association record books. Toles is, unofficially, sitting at 23.5 career sacks which puts him half a sack behind Darwin Spates of Sunrise Mountain High School (2015-2017) who is tied for 15th with Richard Bowler of Virgin Valley High School (1982-1984) for the career sacks total in 11-man football in the state of Nevada. If Toles can get up to 31 sacks, he would be in the top five. If he could top 33.5 career sacks, he would move into second, surpassing Joshua Symonette of Centennial/Palo Verde High Schools, 2009-2011. It would take a herculean effort of 18 sacks this season for Toles to take the career record away from Gabriel Lopez of Desert Pines (2017-2019) who is the career 11-man leader with 41 sacks. Toles finished the night with two sacks, six solo tackles, 11 total tackles, and a forced fumble. Juniors Alan Limas-Nunez and Carsen Galvin recorded seven tackles each for the Mustangs. In addition to Nash’s interception, three other Mustangs had interceptions: seniors Daniel Musgrove, Joey Hammond-Parrett, and Eric Chacon.
The Mustangs are being led by Head Coach Ty Gregg who will be taking his Mustangs to North Valleys for a week two showdown with the Panthers. Gregg coached the Panthers from 2009-2013. The Panthers are 1-0 after defeating the Sparks Railroaders 42-7. Following the North Valleys game, the Mustangs will return home for a matchup with the defending 3A champions Truckee.
Next Damonte Game – at North Valleys, 7:00 PM
About Your Author – Lynn Ault covers high school athletics for Battle Born Preps, with an emphasis on Damonte Ranch High School where his wife is the head of the math department. Both of his kids went to Damonte, and when not covering high school sports, he can be found working with middle and high school youth for Hope Community, a non-denominational church in south Reno.