Friday night the Damonte Ranch Mustangs held off the Spanish Springs Cougars in a 5A North showdown at Damonte Ranch High School, 21-14. The Cougars opened the scoring, after the Mustangs fumbled the opening kickoff. Damonte's defense made the Cougars work for the score, but score they did, posting seven points when quarterback Elijah Guerard found Malachi Thomas with a four-yard touchdown pass. Guerard got the start for the 5A North’s leading passer, JJ Dain, who is working through an ankle injury, but Dain would still have a role to play, more on that later.
The Mustangs evened things up when Cooper Anderson found Drew Vargas on a 26-yard touchdown pass with 9:36 to go in the second quarter. Joe Brown then found the endzone with 1:14 left in the half, a rushing score making the halftime score 14-7.
It was a physical game with the defenses making it difficult for offenses to get much going. In addition to the defenses making things difficult, flags also played a part in disrupting the flow of the game, upsetting both sides at times. With 6:17 to go in the game, the Cougars tied the game when CJ Stinson took an inside handoff to the endzone from 13 yards out. The Mustangs took the ensuing kickoff and marched down the field, scoring the game’s final points with just 80 seconds left. The Cougars did get a final possession, with JJ Dain in the game, but the Damonte defense forced a turnover on downs, securing the victory.
With the win, Damonte earned a 5A North playoff spot and will look to secure a home playoff game with a win Friday night when the Galena Grizzlies visit Damonte Ranch. If you are planning on attending Friday night’s game, get there early, it is Senior Night. Senior football players and cheerleaders will be honored at 6:30 PM with football going first and cheer second. In addition to it being senior night, it is also Homecoming, which means that at halftime we will have performances by both the cheer and marching band before the parade of floats takes place and the Homecoming Court introduced. Following the conclusion of the game, the largest trophy in all of high school sports will be awarded to the winner, the Cross Saw!
SilverBlu Signs & Media are proud sponsors of the Battle for the Cross Saw game between Galena and Damonte Ranch high schools. The Battle for the Cross Saw is an old Truckee Meadows legend, going back to the late 1800s, and the first landowners in south Reno. The legend states that a 120-pound cross saw was sold by the Galena Town Mill to Peleg Brown, who later sold his ranch to Louis Damonte. When the Galena town suffered a fire, they wanted to buy the cross saw back, Brown countered with a challenge to settle ownership of the saw for one year. A cross saw competition was held, and that first year it was the lumbermen from Galena securing ownership of the saw. In 2014, Damonte Ranch's Coach Joe Lawrence revived the competition with the Cross Saw going to Damonte after a 41-0 victory. In 2015 the Grizzlies took the Saw after defeating Damonte 34-19. The Mustangs have won five straight since the 2015 loss, averaging 50 points while allowing an average of 8 points per contest. Immediately following the conclusion of the game, the winning team will be awarded the coveted Saw.
Finally, congratulations to Damonte Ranch Head Coach Shawn Dupris for securing his 100th career win. Dupris became the Mustangs head coach in 2012, leading the Mustangs to their first Northern title game appearance that season.
Total Wins – 100
DRFP Wins – 75
8 – Average wins per season at Damonte
3 – Average losses per season at Damonte
2 – Northern Titles
Galena Grizzlies - 7:00 PM kickoff
Pre-game - senior Night
Halftime – Cheer, Marching Band, Homecoming
Postgame – Cross Saw
Northern 5A Standings
1) McQueen Lancers, 5-0 League, 6-0 Overall; hosting Reno High 2) Bishop Mangoue, 5-1 League, 5-2 Overall; off this week 3) Damonte Ranch, 3-1 League, 4-3 Overall; hosting Galena 4) Reno High, 2-2 League, 4-3 Overall; at McQ 5) Carson, 2-3 League, 2-4 Overall; at Douglas 6) Reed, 2-3 League, 2-3 Overall; at Spanish Springs
7) Spanish Springs, 1-3 League, 3-5 Overall; hosting Reed
8) Douglas, 1-4 League, 1-5 Overall; hosting Carson
9) Galena, 0-4 League, 0-7 Overall; at Damonte
It is always fun to play with playoff scenarios. A Damonte win, this week, sets up an intriguing matchup at Bishop Manogue for the number two seed in the playoffs. Can Douglas hand Carson a loss and move up in the seedings? There is no love loss between Spanish Springs and Reed, a Reed victory coupled with a Carson loss would move Reed closer to a coveted first round home playoff game.
About Your Author – Lynn Ault covers DRHS athletics for Battle Born Preps. His wife is the head of the math department at Damonte, both his kids graduated from Damonte. Lynn is also one of the pastors at Hope Community, a south Reno church.