Updated: Aug 2
Damonte Ranch Mustangs Season Preview
The high school football season begins later this month, with that being said we are previewing over twenty teams from our local area. Today's team: Damonte Ranch.
Damonte Ranch Mustangs
2022 record: 3-7 overall, 3-3 league
Head coach: Ty Gregg, second season at Damonte Ranch (3-7 overall, 3-3 league in one season at Damonte Ranch; 16-42 overall, 11-27 league over six seasons at North Valleys and Damonte Ranch)
Overview: Coach Ty Gregg and the Mustangs were dealt a difficult hand heading into last season due to their short notice coaching changes that saw the Mustangs have three head coaches in a six-month span - ultimately deciding that Ty Gregg was the man for the job.
In my conversation with Coach Gregg, he reflected on last season stating it was a "Unique situation where we had to pull together through a tough schedule and lots of injuries. We had to move forward and got ourselves trending in the right direction after a tough season." Gregg continued on saying his teams "new (non-league) schedule is by design this season" as they expect to be at the top of the Division-II league this coming season.
Gregg was quick to point out that the key to his team's success this season will come by "how well our younger players step up this season, we are young and have a smaller senior class, so leadership is important." Gregg took it even a step further in his assessment of last season when he said, "we know we have a lot to prove and that's a good thing," when discussing the Mustangs falling short of the expectations that have come with their success over their last decade. Gregg said his program is "[excited to] prove everyone wrong! Don't sleep on Damonte Ranch football this season."
The Mustangs will continue to be multi-dimensional offensively mixing multiple concepts of the passing game and running game in what Gregg described as a "Spread 'Wing-T' Gun." He will benefit from returning five starters on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively they will continue to show an odd front with a base 3-4 defense that allows their playmakers to "attack and go get the football."
The position battle that will determine how the Mustangs begin this season will be at quarterback where Coach Gregg identified Joey Jamison, Junior and Branden Radoumis, Sophomore locked in a tight battle to run the offense as fall camp begins. Our eyes will be peeled to see who emerges with keys in hand to run the offense come August 18th.
Seniors to watch:
DL Braelen Toles, Senior: 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."
WR/DB Jackson Papke, Senior: Papke will be looked upon to be the next great wideout from Damonte Ranch this season as Coach Gregg said, "we expect quite a bit from him offensively and defensively as well as being a leader." Papke has recorded 19 receptions for 298 yards and two touchdowns in his time on varsity for the Mustangs. Not just a one-trick pony, he has recorded 34 tackles defensively for the Mustangs as well. He is athletic and runs good routes.
RB/RS DJ Gonzalez-Brown, Senior: My pick for breakout on the Mustangs football team this season is DJ Gonzalez-Brown. In limited action over the last two season DGB has toted the rock 85 times for 453 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He has also scored on a receiving touchdown and is a constant threat in the return game. Coach Gregg said, "we expect big things from DJ as he works through injuries."
Don't overlook these position groups:
In the trenches offensive lineman Dre Villanueva, Junior; Ronin Black, Junior and Matt Davis, Junior will be looked upon to anchor the line of scrimmage for the Mustangs. Coach Gregg said, "we are really confident in their abilities, and they will lead us."
An exciting pair of Junior LB's in Carsen Galvin (65 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and one sack) and Kobe Craig will be expected to lead the Mustangs defense as they were referred to as "talented, Swiss-army knives that are valuable on defense but will play some offense as well."
Look out for:
WR/DB Amari Nash, Sophomore: Coach Ty Gregg was quick to point out that Amari Nash was primed for a breakout season this fall. Gregg said "He came up to varsity for a few games for us, played well, went back down and dominated. He has the potential to be really, really good, we are high on him." He caught one pass for 32 yards last season as a ninth grader.
Aug. 18 vs. Hug
Aug. 25 at North Valleys
Sep. 1 vs. Truckee (Calif.)
Sep. 8 vs. Douglas
Sep. 15 at Galena
Sep. 22 vs. Reno
Sep. 28 at Spanish Springs
Oct. 6 vs. McQueen
Oct. 13 at Reed
Oct. 20 at Bishop Manogue
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.