All-Sierra Nevada Football – Defense
Justin Gates, 6-3, 240, sr., Galena: One of the area’s prize recruits, Gates is a an explosive pass rusher from the strongside who helped lead Galena defensively on its way to the state championship game in Las Vegas. He wound up as an All-Northern 4A and first-team all-league selection.
Philip Mannelly, 5-11, 196, sr., Douglas: A second-year starter who rebounded from an early-season injury to earn first-team all-league honors. Mannelly, who played on the weakside, was one key reason why few opponents were able to run the perimeter successfully against the Tigers. He had six QB sacks this season.
Sean Molina, 6-0, 187, sr., Douglas: It’s not often a player at this position leads the team in tackles, but the undersized Molina beat those odds to lead Douglas in that category and earn Sierra League Defensive Player of the Year honors. Molina had six QB sacks and returned one fumble for a TD against McQueen.
Kirk Haynes, 5-9, 167, sr., Truckee: Talk about undersized, Haynes was a reserve linebacker last year who moved to fill a void at defensive tackle and used his quickness and increased strength to emerge as a first-team all-league and all-state performer for the Wolverines. Named the team’s Defensive MVP.
Jamie Greene, 6-3, 250, sr., Carson: A first-team all-league defensive tackle for the Senators who also started as an offensive lineman, leading the team in de-cleaters. “He was one of the most physical kids in the North,” Quilling said. One big play came against Wooster when Greene made a flying QB sack. “Jamie jumped up in the air and looked like he engulfed the quarterback. I couldn’t see him (quarterback) anymore.
Iiaisia Lotaki, 6-0, 220, sr., Rite of Passage: Quick and physical – not to mention a state champion wrestler – Lotaki was used as an inside linebacker and nose guard on his way to Defensive Player of the Year for the Northern 2A and all-state teams. He led the team with 90 tackles and four QB sacks to go with two TDs and one safety. The Rams ended their season with five straight wins to emerge from No. 4 seed from the Northern 2A to bringing the 2A state title back to Yerington.
Brent Koontz, 6-0, 215, sr., Douglas: A force from his inside linebacker position, Koontz was honored as the Sierra League’s co-Player of the Year, as well as Northern 4A Region Defensive Player of the Year. A third-year starter on defense – plus a leader on and off the field – Koontz had four interceptions with one returned for a touchdown, one fumble forced, one fumble recovered and one sack.
Ryan Pruitt, 5-8, 172, sr., Douglas: A repeat All-Sierra selection who earned first-team all-league honors. The outside linebacker had three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Pruitt was a three-year starter on defense for the Sierra League champion Tigers.
Jesse Snodgrass, 6-2, 210, sr., Galena: First-team all-league and led the Grizzlies in tackles this season. Galena’s defense limited opponents to averages of 16.9 points, 147 yards rushing and 112 yards passing per game this season. Snodgrass also caught 22 passes for 323 yards and eight TDs as a tight end.
Josh Avery, 5-8, 159, sr., Dayton: A first-team all-league and all-state inside linebacker who led the Dust Devils in tackles this season with 107. Stats don’t do him justice, according to coach Rick Walker: “If he was as big as his heart, he’d be 6-4, 250. That’s the way he played for us. He made a lot of big plays.”
Paris Tenorio, 6-0, 225, jr., Truckee: Wound up as a second-team all-league pick, but would have likely fared better if not slowed by injuries early this season. As the season progressed, Tenorio was a force and along with sophomore Ryan Macken (first-team all-league and all-state), the Wolverines were very hard to run against during their 4-6 season (they finished with four straight losses, all decided by six points, including 20-14 against Dayton in the playoffs).
Richie Norgrove, 6-0, 160, sr., Carson: A second-team all-league selection who doubled as Carson’s lock-down corner on defense and go-to receiver on offense. “Probably as good as anybody in the North,” Quilling said about Norgrove as a coverage cornerback. “There’s a kid who did everything he was asked and more.”
T.J. Lantino, 5-8, 155, sr., Galena: Not the biggest or fastest player, but aggressive and a good cover corner who rarely got beat deep. Also solid in run support for Galena.
Cole Hamzik, 5-11, 156, sr., Douglas: A repeat All-Sierra selection who also earned all-league and All-Northern 4A recognition for the second year in a row. An intelligent and tough player, Hamzik switched from cornerback to safety in the Tigers’ three-back scheme, came up with four interceptions and was solid on run support this season.
Brandon Aguilera, 6-2, 190, jr., Dayton: Aguilera, a first-team all-league and all-state running back, and second-team linebacker, led the team in scoring with 86 points on 9 TDs, 16 PATs and 4 field goals. A fast and strong player who delivered many big plays as an outside linebacker (2 blocked punts, one for a TD), including a touchdown and possibly game-saving tackle against Truckee.
Carson: Jon Hazeltine, DE; Trent Simpson, OT; Will Holbert, WR; Ryan Eichenberger, WR; Daniel Faiella, DE; Mitch Hammond, QB; Dayton: Vadim Gladwill, DE; Tom O’Brien, TE (second-team all-state); Michael Martin, S; Douglas: Mike Colyer, OL (first-team all-league); Jeff Nady, DL; Trevor McCarthy, OL; Curtis Hartzell, OL; Reese Kizer, RB (first-team all-league, 804 yards rushing); David Laird, QB; Anthony Alvitre, NG (11 sacks); Sean Peralta, DB; Brock Peterson, LB; Nate Whalin, DE; Niko Salidas, DB; Fallon: Chris Hinkey, DL; Fletcher Bowman, OL; Jake Baker, DB; Trevor deBraga, LB; Trent deBraga, DB; Fernley: Kevin Hart, OL (second-team all-state); Jake Lavoie, WR; Travis Munoz, LB; Austin Wilson, P; Kyle Thompson, CB; Neil Kendricks, CB; Austin Wilson, P; Galena: Jake Hess, LB; Jason Parkinson, WR; Jake Mansfield, DB; T.J. Lantino, DB; Adam Kirtley, OL; Max Landis, OL; Levi Stafford, DL; Jacob Anderson, QB; Incline: Ryan Bahneman, LB (first-team all-state); Matt Behrens, RB; Frank Sunseri, OL; North Tahoe: Ernesto Mendoza, RB (780 yards rushing); Omar Gonzalez, DL; Rite of Passage: Rico Youngblood, OL; Joseph Luna, DL; South Tahoe: Miles Wallace, OL; Elliott Pekar, LB; Chris Diana, LB; Matt Yuen, LB; Chris Eldan, DB; Truckee: Ryan Macken, LB (first-team all-state); Keven Sahlberg, RB; Andrew Mazzini, WR; Forest Krull, OG; Kyle Coxson, DB; Whittell: Bryce Rafferty, OL, (second-team all-state); Travis Swoger, DB; Nick Spano, DL; Phil Gielow, RB; Roberto Concha-Foley, DB; Yerington: James Roberts, WR (first-team all-state); Daniel Bauer, QB (first-team all-state); Stephen Skroch, P (first-team all-state); Sean Watson, LB, (first-team all-state); Logan Lawson, RB; Tim Fitzpatrick, TE; Austen Vaughan, DL.