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Reno and Damonte Ranch battle in key Northern 5A league matchup

Damonte Ranch at Reno
Damonte Ranch at Reno. (Graphic by Jenna Holland/NSN)

Our Friday Night Rivals game of the week sends us to Foster Field for a battle between Reno and Damonte Ranch.

The Huskies have been road warriors this season with all three of their wins coming away from home, victories over Churchill County, Carson and Douglas. Last week, Reno almost rallied past Bishop Manogue, coming back from a 14-0 deficit to tie the game with less than four minutes to play thanks to a fumble recovered by the Huskies defense. But Bishop Manogue's Jayse Benedict kicked the game-winning field goal with less than 10 seconds left to seal the win.

Reno's second-year head coach, Jason Ehlen, said it's important for the Huskies' offense to find a rhythm as they rotate between quarterbacks Rocco Granieri and Hayden Parga.

"I think our kids are seeing and figuring out that we have the ability to play against good teams and compete," Ehlen said. "I think the biggest takeaway last week was our defense played really well, and quite honestly our defense has played well all season long. Offensively, we just haven't been as consistent. We weren't able to get things going offensively until our last two drives last week where we tied the game, and then Manogue was able to drive down and kick the field goal. So we've got to get better offensively tomorrow night. We've absolutely got to find a rhythm to to our game."

The Mustangs are looking to win back-to-back games after picking up their first victory of the season against Acalanes in the Bay Area last week. Damonte Ranch's schedule has been one of the toughest in the Northern 5A, with games against Clovis West out of Fresno, Calif.; Acalanes out of Lafayette, Calif.; and Faith Lutheran in Las Vegas. It has played only one league game, a loss at Reed.

In a back-and-forth game last week, the Mustangs kicked a 21-yard field goal by Joe Brown early in the fourth quarter to take the lead, and Damonte Ranch held on from there.

"It was nice to get a 'W' on the road against a good team that was 3-0," Damonte Ranch coach Shawn Dupris said. "They were averaging over 500 yards of offense, putting up a lot of points and pretty much destructing the teams they played. So it was really nice to be in a battle and come out on top. It showed a lot about our character and where that character is going and developing and only made us coaches happy to see that happen. And, of course, to get a 'W,' because you always want that to happen for the boys because they worked so hard and they deserve a paycheck, and it was nice to get that. We've got to continue that momentum now. We're back to league. That's exciting for these guys every time that we get in the league because they know everybody in Reno. It's a small town. They know the other guys and know what they do. And we know their staff, and now we're excited to play this game for sure."

In its only league game, Damonte Ranch led Reed, 26-20, at halftime before being shut out in the second half of a seven-point loss, dropping its first league game in six years. In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Damonte Ranch and Reno will wear stickers on the back of their helmets on Friday. Mustangs quarterback Cooper Anderson overcame cancer as a child.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Friday on Nevada Sports Net and will stream online by clicking here.

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