Thursday night the Damonte Ranch Mustangs hosted the Douglas Tigers, and it was senior night. Your author has a senior on the team, number 77, Adin Ault. He started playing in seventh grade, joining a Damonte Ranch SYFL (Sierra Youth Football League) team that had not lost a game in two years. I went to the first practice with him, and I must admit to being somewhat fearful. The boys looked so big and played with an intensity, and level of confidence, that I wasn’t sure he could match. Fortunately he had two coaches that understood his situation, Mark Jamison and Brent Smith, and they took good care of him and the other new players. Jamison is now a part of the DRFP (Damonte Ranch Football Program) coaching staff, and Smith attends every home game watching his son, Carson (junior, wears number 23, linebacker and running back). They were patient with the newer players, like my son, while challenging the experienced players to get better. Everyone practiced, everyone played, and as a parent I knew they genuinely cared about the safety, health, and welfare of their players. They went undefeated that season and won the SYFL championship. The next season Adin competed for a starting spot on the offensive line and played a lot. They went undefeated but lost the SYFL championship game. After that his football fortunes shifted as he became a member of the Damonte Ranch Football Program.
The DRFP era began in 2012 when Shawn Dupris moved to Reno, from Las Vegas, to take the job at Damonte. Dupris took over a team that had gone 3-7 the year before, losing by an average of 23 points per game. That first season the team made it to the 4A Northern Championship, losing to Reed. Under Coach Dupris the Mustangs have made the playoffs every season, won an average of 8 games each year, they have won the Sierra League three years in a row, and the 4A Northern Title in 2016. This season, Dupris’ Mustangs are 8-1, poised to win a fourth straight Sierra League title, and the top seed in the playoffs.
I am grateful for Coach Dupris and his staff: Ben Coffield, C.J. Wynch, Joe Lawrence, Chase Lynch, Darin Heredia, Ty Gregg, Mark Jamison, and Carson Pitts have done a wonderful job this season. They hold the team accountable on the field and off, which explains why the football team has a number of State Academic Championships. All of these things, and more, were racing through my mind Thursday night as I stood in the south endzone, at Damonte, with my son, my wife, my daughter, and my in-laws. We entered the inflatable tunnel and waited for Adin’s name to be read. I was pleased to hear the loud cheer when he was announced, and after that it was time for the kickoff.
In the first quarter the two sides traded turnovers before Ashton Hayes scored on a 44-yard touchdown, making it 7-0. Damonte’s defense forced a punt and then it was Ethan Kulpin finding the endzone from 15 yards out, making it 13-0. In the second quarter Hayes really found a rhythm, scoring from three yards out after being brought down at the three-yard line on a long run that started on the Damonte side of the field. Tyler Clark intercepted an Isaac Shaver pass which led to a 41-yard touchdown pass, Kulpin to Nick Vargas, running the score up to 27-0. The defense continued to stymie the Tigers, and before the half ended Kulpin evaded a sack by finding Vargas for a first down which led to a one-yard touchdown run by Hayes. With a running clock the second half sped by. Kulpin had an interception in the third quarter, ending a productive drive by the Tigers. In the fourth quarter Hayes finished off the scoring with a spectacular 84-yard gallop, making the final score 42-0. It was quite a senior night for the program’s 12 seniors: Trent Patterson, Christian Jamison, Dylan Franklin, Ethan Hamilton, Jaeden Imgard, Tyler Holman, Carter Lewis, Cole West, Dallin Meidell, Erick Hernandez, Ivan Hernandez, and Adin Ault. These seniors picked up a key league win, 42-0, in front of family and friends in spectacular fashion.
The Mustangs next face the Galena Grizzlies. Galena is 3-4 overall, 2-1 in league. They will play this week’s league game Monday night, at Bishop Manogue, 6:00 PM. The “Battle for the Cross Saw” will take place on Saturday, November 2nd, 4:00 PM, at Galena, and that is the final regular season game.