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All-time Northern Nevada high school football team (coaches)

High school football
Ken Dalton would lead out fictional all-time Northern Nevada high school team. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Last week would have marked the start of the high school football season, but fall sports have been pushed to March due to COVID-19. As a result, we won't get to cover high school football in the coming months, but I have substituted that lack of coverage with this piece: a look at Northern Nevada's all-time high school football team. Previously, we looked at the area's all-offensive team, all-defensive team and all-special teams team. Today, we look at special teams. Of note: Each player's entire playing career was considered, so high school stars who didn't play in college didn't have much of a chance to make the list. And making it to the NFL also was weighed in the decision-making process.

Northern Nevada's all-prep football coaches

Head coach: Ken Dalton: Dalton won 308 games, including 228 in the NIAA, all with McQueen. He built a powerhouse at North Tahoe before becoming the Lancers' first football coach. He won 79.4 percent of his games and 11 large-class Regional titles while adding six state championships (1990, 1992, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2008) and five undefeated seasons. He built a program from scratch and turned it into the powerhouse of the North while developing four future NFL players, the most of any local coach.

Associate head coach: Joe Sellers: Sellers and Dalton battled one another for regional and state championships for years, so it would be great to see what they could have done as a partnership, although I doubt Sellers would want to be the "associate head coach" given his lengthy résumé. During his historic run at Wooster, Sellers went 206-34, including a 36-game win streak and won seven large-class championship. Sellers added two more 3A state titles at Bishop Manogue and compiled 250 career victories, the most in NIAA history.

Head coach emeritus: Chris Ault: The Wolf Pack legend who is in the College Football Hall of Fame began his career as a local high school coach where he spent four seasons, winning a state title at Manogue, before joining UNLV as an assistant coach and Nevada as a head coach in 1976. Ault is known more as a college coach than a high school one, so we'll give him the title of head coach emeritus since Dalton and Sellers were more accomplished coaches in terms of high school accolades.

Offensive coordinator: Ernie Howren: If Sellers passed the mantle to Dalton, then Dalton passed the mantle to Howren in terms of having Northern Nevada's premier program. Howren took Reed from a laughingstock into the North's standard before doing the same the last three seasons at Manogue. He's served as his school's offensive coordinator over the years and built the North's best offensive teams. Howren's 173 career wins rank fourth in state history behind Sellers, Dalton and Ken Higbee, and he's won nine Regional titles.

Defensive coordinator: Ken Cass: Cass' name might not be as familiar to some because of his lack of head-coaching experience, but he was instrumental in Dalton's McQueen teams, serving as the defensive coordinator there for 15 years. The Lancers won nine Regional title and five state championships when he was an assistant. He was hired by Manogue in 2013. Cass also would serve as our team's strength coach. In 2005, he was one of five National High School Strength Coach of the Year recipients by American Football Monthly.

Assistant: Bob Shaffer: Perhaps the area's most underrated coach, Shaffer's Truckee teams were as good as it got in the area. Coaching the Wolverines from 1995-2012, Shaffer won 170 games (fifth most in state history), including 41 in a row from 2009-12 before retiring. He won nine Class 3A state titles, including four in a row from 2009-12.

Assistant: Dan Avansino: Avansino was the long-time Reno High coach before being controversially fired after the 2018 season following his comments about Bishop Manogue during halftime of a playoff game. A former McQueen High star, he coached the Huskies for 17 years and won a 2003 state title, the only non-McQueen state crown by a North team since 1996.

Assistant: Rollins Stallworth: Stallworth did amazing things at Hug High, a school that typically struggles with numbers (and with wins, which we've seen since his retirement after the 2009 season). From 1993-2009, Stallworth ran one of the North's most impressive programs, which included a 4A state title game berth in 2005. Hug's field is named after him.

Assistant: Mike Rippee: Rippee's Douglas Tigers didn't have a lot of postseason success -- no Regional titles -- but his teams were a formidable foe. Rippee coached Douglas from 1985-2012 and posted a 139-125 record (100-70 in his last 16 seasons). Rippee, whose 139 wins rank tied for sixth among Northern coaches, was inducted into the NIAA Hall of Fame in 2014.

Assistant: Shawn Dupris: We'll add an active coach to our list in Dupris, who turned around Bonanza High in Las Vegas before taking the Damonte Ranch job in 2012. He's 78-30 with the Mustangs and had posted four straight seasons with at least 11 wins. Damonte Ranch hasn't lost a league game since 2015, so Dupris has built the one of the top teams in the area.

Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @ByChrisMurray.

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