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The 2022 Cross Saw Game Has Hot Sauce On It

Jake Berger knows about the Cross Saw rivalry. It was Thursday, October 29th, 2015, and Galena junior running back Jake Berger rushed for 171 yards and a touchdown; his performance propelled the Grizzlies to 34-19 victory, the last Galena victory in this rivalry.

• 2016, Damonte 56-7 Galena

• 2017, Damonte 47-22 Galena

• 2018, Damonte 55-0 Galena

• 2019, Damonte 51-9 Galena

• 2020, Damonte 40-0 Galena

• 2021, Damonte 46-8 Galena

For those unfamiliar with the Cross Saw rivalry, a little background on the largest trophy in high sports. According to Northern Nevada old timers, the Battle for the Cross Saw dates back to 1858. Peleg Brown had established a ranch in what is now south Reno and purchased a massive 120-pound cross saw, to aid in construction, from the Galena Town Mill. A few years later, Galena suffered a large town fire and the town founders asked to buy the cross saw back from the Browns. Being a sporting man, Brown wagered a challenge to compete for the ownership of the saw for one year. A cross cutting competition was held, and after tremendous effort from both groups, it was the Galena Lumberjacks that prevailed. The competition continued for years before fading into memory, but has been renewed, as a football rivalry featuring the two south Reno schools.

Galena High School opened in 1992 and since opening has been successful athletically, having won league in every sport played at the school. Galena played for the state title, in football, in 2006, losing to Mojave 33-6. In 2007, the school won a regional triple crown, winning regional league titles in football, basketball, and baseball. For years, following the opening of Damonte Ranch High School in 2003, Galena looked at Damonte as a younger sibling. Students that were zoned for Damonte were given a choice to finish their high school career at Galena or to transfer to Damonte. Most of the notable athletes chose to stay at Galena, believing the established institution and its programs offered better opportunities academically and athletically. The first few years of athletic competition at Damonte were a challenge. The football team went 0-10 its first year and did not field a varsity team its second year before winning its third game of the 2006 season, 35-7 at South Lake Tahoe. The first time Galena and Damonte played was the 2007 season, a 31-3 Galena victory. In 2008, Damonte picked up its first win against the Grizzlies, 21-20, with senior quarterback Ray Daniels leading the Mustangs to victory. Galena would win three in a row before Damonte picked up a 41-0 victory in 2014. Sam Banghart led the Mustangs to victory, the senior running back rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Cade McNamara made his first appearance in the rivalry his freshman year, splitting time with junior quarterback Drake Vestbie. After that initial loss, McNamara led the Mustangs to three straight victories. Ethan Kulpin kept the streak going by leading the Mustangs in both his appearances as the signal caller for Head Coach Shawn Dupris. Cooper Anderson is 1-0 after last season’s 46-8 victory.

The rivalry picked up steam back in 2019 when Damonte graduate and longtime coach, Aaron Cook, accepted the offer to be the head coach for Galena. Damonte offensive line coach Jim Kyte made the move with him. Since then, other Mustangs have made the move and coached at Galena like Jake Covert, Erick Perez, and Joe Lawrence. Lawrence had been a part of Coach Dupris’ staff for years, coached his two sons, and watched his daughter graduate from Damonte as well. But after the offseason coaching changes at Damonte, Lawrence saw an opportunity at Galena.

My coaching buddies over at Galena, I had coached with at Damonte, asked me for my help. It’s great to have your talents recognized and appreciated. Coach Cook and staff had taken over the Galena program in 2019 and had put together the meat and potatoes of the program but were looking for some spice or hot sauce to kick things up a notch. This is where I came in.”

Lawrence and company snapped a 16-game losing streak, this year, by defeating North Valleys 39-6. The Grizzlies will enter Friday night’s contest with a 5-3 record, 2-2 in league. Damonte enters with a 2-5 record, also 2-2 in league. More than the Cross Saw will be at risk for both teams. A win could propel the winning team into the 4th playoff spot and the possibility of hosting a first-round playoff game.

FRESHMAN, Thursday, at Galena, 3:30 PM

JUNIOR VARSITY, Thursday, at Galena, 5:45 PM

VARSITY, Friday, at Galena, 7:00 PM

ABOUT YOUR AUTHOR – Lynn Ault covers Damonte Ranch athletics for Battle Born Preps and is the Youth Pastor for Hope Community Church. Lynn’s wife, A’Laiana, is the head of the math department at Damonte, and both of their kids graduated from Damonte as well.

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