This week’s non-conference opponent, for the Damonte Ranch Mustangs, is the Lodi Flames. Lodi is a three-hour drive from Reno, south of Sacramento and Elk Grove on highway 99. Lodi High School’s colors are red and white, the mascot is the flames, and the enrollment is 2,147 students.
This is the first time these two programs will meet on the field. The Flames are 1-0, after defeating Pleasant Grove 34-6. Pleasant Grove is ranked 629th in California, Lodi is ranked 159th. Last season they finished 8-4 while scoring 20.8 points per game and surrendering 14.4 points per game.
The Mustangs will enter the contest with some injury issues. Senior wideout and defensive back, Drew Vargas, will be out with a lower leg injury. Jackson Papke, junior wideout, will be out while attending to a hand injury. Senior linebacker, running back, and kicker, Joe Brown, will be out with a lower leg injury. Senior linebacker Michael Venezia will be out following removal from last week’s contest.
The Mustangs have a challenge facing them, but the way the team battled back in the second half of last week’s game with Escalon should encourage the team, coaches, and fans. After falling behind 29-15, the Mustangs battled back to within one score, 36-29. The Mustangs had a first and goal from the Escalon nine, in the waning minutes of the home opener, but credit Escalon’s defense for stopping the Mustangs and then adding a late touchdown to make the final score 43-29.
The Mustangs’ run game was powered by senior running back Cameron Rodriguez who picked up 108 yards, and a touchdown. Drew Vargas had 6 receptions for 62 yards, a touchdown, and completed two passes. Senior quarterback Cooper Anderson was 10-22, 108 passing yards, one touchdown through the air, and added a rushing touchdown as well. Seniors Nate Meredith and Connor Kimmel both had six tackles, juniors Braelen Toles and Kobe Craig each had five, and junior Cayden Long had an interception.
Freshman – Thursday, 3:30 PM, hosting the Galena Grizzlies
Junior Varsity – off this week
Varsity – Friday, 7:00 PM, Lodi
About Your Author – Lynn Ault covers Damonte athletics for Battle Born Preps, his wife is the head of the math department at Damonte, his kids both graduated from the Ranch, and he announces a number of sports and activities for Damonte. He is also the youth pastor for Hope Community, a non-denominational south Reno church.