The Damonte Ranch Mustangs are running wild this year, sitting atop the 5A North standings, and the accomplishment is due, in no small part, to guys that play both ways. Specialization has become the rule in sports, making the Mustangs reliance on two-way players all the more interesting, one of those is two-way players is Benjamin (Benny) Marshall.
Marshall wears number 55 and handles Damonte’s point after tries and kickoffs, in addition to being a starting defensive end. Marshall has been kicking since age eight, “I grew up playing soccer, so it [football] was a simple transition,” says Marshall. This season Marshall has made 21 of 24 point after tries (PATs) and has six touchbacks on 28 kickoffs. Marshall has been a varsity fixture since his freshman year when he first logged action in the Reed and McQueen playoff games. I asked Marshall what goes through his mind, prior to a PAT or field goal attempt, and he said, “Nothing. At this point it’s just muscle memory, so it’s all natural.” According to the DRFP stats on MaxPreps, Marshall has accumulated 170 points on field goals and PATs in his career, but it is the defensive side of the ball where Marshall has fun.
Marshall starts opposite junior Cade Rodaheffer on the defensive line, and has four sacks this season, along with 15 tackles, nine of which have been for a loss. Marshall loves playing defense, “As much as I love kicking, playing defensive end this year has been so much fun.”
Marshall and the Mustangs have had a great season, Marshall attributes their success to the offseason, “The varsity players didn’t take a day off during the extended break. Even though we didn’t have access to gyms, or our coaches, we were still able to watch film and go for runs.”
Marshall and the Mustangs have claimed a fifth straight Sierra League title this season. The Mustangs are idle this week, waiting to see who their opponent will be for their final game of the season, the Regional Championship, on Saturday, April 10th, a neutral site game being hosted by Bishop Manogue High School. A familiar foe, the Reed Raiders, sit atop the High Desert League with a 2-1 overall record, 2-0 in league play. The Raiders and Mustangs faced off to start the season, at Damonte, a game the Mustangs won 30-24. The High Desert League title can be decided Friday night at Spanish Springs High School. Reed controls their destiny, a win at Spanish Springs gives the Raiders the league title, and a rematch with the Mustangs, in the Regional Championship.
A fantastic group of seniors will be playing their last game on April 10th, I asked Marshall what is next and he told me that he plans on attending Boise State University to study business administration. At this time, he has no plans to continue his football career, after high school, but he is hoping to go out on top. “I am hoping we get the Regional Championship this year. Our team wants many things individually to happen, but our main goal is to win the Regional next week.”
Next DRFP Game, Saturday, April 10th
About Your Author – Lynn Ault covers DRHS athletics for Battle Born Preps. Both of his kids attended DRHS where his son played football for four years, and his daughter played basketball and was a cheerleader.