Kyle Koontz (99) of Douglas High football wraps up a Reed ball carrier last Friday. Koontz has caught the praise of his head coach for his ability to play offensive and defensive line as a sophomore.
Photo by Ron Harpin.
As Douglas High School football turns the page into its last three games of the regular season, head coach Kyle Mays knows the Tigers’ next task is no walk in the park.
After a 31-0 loss to Reed on Friday, Douglas heads north this week to take on Damonte Ranch (2-3).
For Mays, the messaging to his team hasn’t changed as the Tigers venture to Reno once again.
“Prepare, play hard and stick together,” said Mays. “The biggest thing I always notice on film with those guys is how passionate they are.”
The Mustangs aren’t just any old team, sitting under the .500 mark through five games this season.
Damonte has posted back-to-back wins over Acalanes (California), 31-30, and Reno last week, 20-13.
“They are obviously making a push for the playoffs,” said Mays. “A lot of people are saying that they are down, but they are such fantastic competitors. … You can never, ever take those guys lightly.”
Last week in the win over Reno, Damonte Ranch forced two turnovers, two sacks and recorded four tackles for loss.
Michael Venezia (No. 14) leads the team with 67 tackles, but the Mustangs have found success at getting to the quarterback.
In five games, Damonte has 12 sacks and has forced eight turnovers.
As aggressive as the Mustangs have been on the defensive end, Damonte has had some turnover trouble so far.
Quarterback Cooper Anderson (No. 5) has thrown for 412 yards and five touchdowns this season, but has also been intercepted five times.
On the ground, senior Mason Reasoner (No. 10) has led the charge with 526 yards rushing and a score. Cameron Rodriguez (No. 35) averages about 50 yards per contest as well for the Mustangs.
The skill players will obviously have the ball in their hands, but Mays said the Mustangs’ blockers also have him cautious.
Cade Rodahaffer (No. 44) and Alex Rodahaffer (No. 45) will get out in front and lay out defenders
Ilex Garcia (No. 70) is another weapon Damonte Ranch will have lined up at guard.
“That guy just plays ball. He works his tail off and you can see it,” Mays said.
For Douglas, the priority is continuing to make strides after a topsy-turvy start to the season.
“Just getting our assignments down,” said Mays. “With the start of the year, we just weren’t able to get all those things down with the craziness of the beginning of the year.”
It’s been the Tigers’ sophomore class that Douglas has asked a lot of – in part due to injuries and in part due to necessity.
“Sometimes you forget they are sophomores, but this group has done a great job of taking everything we put on them and running with it,” said Mays.
Kyle Koontz caught a heaping of praise from Mays for his work going both ways on the offensive and defensive lines.
Douglas’ linebacking core outside of senior Gabe Foster is two sophomores in Trace Estes and Cole Smalley.
“Hopefully, we will get a few more kids in the mix from that sophomore class,” said Mays. “There’s a bunch and hopefully they can step up and give us some depth.”