Damonte Ranch, Week One, 2022
One of the things that I love about the Damonte Ranch Football Program (DRFP) is the quality of their non-league schedule. Through the years, they have gone as far south as San Diego where they took on regional powerhouse Cathedral Catholic. They have played central valley teams like Edison and Clovis West. They are a well-known quantity in Northern California where they have played the likes of Granite Bay, Rocklin, Shasta, Northgate, and Placer. Last season, the Mustangs made the trip down to Las Vegas to play Faith Christian, who will be making the trip to Reno this season to play the Mustangs on Friday, September 2nd. Before the matchup with Faith the Mustangs will open the season, at home, hosting the Escalon Cougars.
Escalon High School is in Escalon (CA), between Stockton and Modesto, a four-hour drive southwest from Reno. The school’s 2021 enrollment was 809 students with a forecast of 829 this school year. Purple and Gold are the school colors, and the Cougars are coming of a very successful 2021 season.
In 2021 they won their league, the Trans Valley League, finishing the season with an impressive 12-2 record. They lost to Marin County, 21-14, in a CIF semi-final game. On offense they averaged 31 points per game while surrendering just 15.8 points per contest. According to MaxPreps, the Cougars are an “athletic” team with eight starters coming back on offense and seven on defense. MaxPreps reports that their weakest areas are size and depth. They are ranked 79th in the state of California, ninth in their division, and first in their league. MaxPreps listed three key players to watch for the Cougars:
• Ryker Peters, senior, fullback/linebacker
• Owen Nash, senior, wide receiver/defensive back
• Ryan Lewis, sophomore, tight end/defensive end
LEADING THE STAMPEDE THIS SEASON
Damonte returns their starting quarterback, senior, Cooper Anderson who threw 16 touchdown passes last year and had a brilliant summer campaign. In addition, starting wideout, senior, Drew Vargas is back, looking to build on the 36 catches he had last season, seven of which were touchdowns. Cameron Rodriguez, senior running back, looks to lead the Mustangs run game. Seniors Alex Rodhoffer and Connor Kimmel play defensive end and tight end, and look to improve on impressive junior campaigns. Michael Venezia, senior linebacker, returns for the Mustangs after leading the state in tackles his junior season. Nate Meredith returns for his senior year after a breakout junior season for the Mustangs at linebacker. Meredith had 94 tackles last season including six sacks. Brealen Toles received a lot of postseason honors. As a sophomore, Toles had 63 tackles, 23 of those for a loss, and nine sacks his first year on varsity. Derek Watson, senior, looks to lead the offensive line for the Mustangs. Keep an eye on senior Jett Norman, a talented defensive back and wide receiver. Norman had a punt block and averaged more than 24 yards per kick return last season while also totaling 68 tackles and two interceptions; he is battling an injury, but should be ready for league play. Finally, senior Joe Brown is a stout running back and linebacker who also made 21-22 PATs for the Mustangs last season.
DRFP This Week
Freshman, home, Thursday (8/18), 3:30 pm, hosting the Reno Huskies
Junior Varsity, home, Friday (8/19), 4:00 pm, hosting the Escalon Cougars
Varsity, home, Friday (8/19) 7:00 pm, hosting the Escalon Cougars
About Your Author
Lynn Ault is the voice of the Mustangs, his wife teaches math at Damonte and is the head of the math department. Both of Lynn's kids graduated from Damonte. When he isn't cheering for the Mustangs, he is the youth pastor for Hope Community, a non-denominational south Reno church.