Galena knocks off Damonte
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Only a few miles separate the campuses of Galena High and Damonte Ranch.
On the football field, the gap between the schools is much bigger.
The defending Northern Nevada 4A zone champs scored on their first three possessions, including their first offensive play, and the defense pitched a shutout for the final three quarters in a 31-3 win Friday night at Grizzly Field.
“We all know each other because we all went to middle school together,” Jake Hess said after the game. “People are talking about this being a rivalry. We all want to win.”
Hess, along with Max Landis, Levi Stafford, P.J. Tomaino and Billy Johnson played strong defensive games. The Mustangs were held to 184 yards unofficially.
“I like seeing that (good defense),” Galena coach Steve Struzyk said. “That gives us confidence. I was nervous about this one.
“We have to clean up the mistakes. We had penalties (125 yards worth) that killed some drives in the second half and kept some alive for them.”
It was evident early that Damonte Ranch was going to have trouble moving the ball with any consistency against the Grizzlies. On the first series, the Mustangs mustered a minus-5 yards on seven snaps.
A shanked 24-yard punt gave Galena excellent field position at the Damonte Ranch 39, and the defending champs didn’t waste it.
Jacob Anderson, who completed 16 of 29 for 237 yards, found Steve Blackhart open, and the wide receiver appeared to be headed for a touchdown. The ball came out of his grasp, but Jason Parkinson fell on the ball for the score. Michael Parker’s PAT made it 7-0 with 8:48 left.
“I have no idea what happened,” Parkinson said. “I thought he had crossed (the goalline) and then the ball popped up. Why not pick it up.”
“That was a great play, but again we made a mistake,” Struzyk said. “We were lucky Jason was there to pick it up.”
That was the first of several big plays by Parkinson, who finished with nine catches for 107 yards, including a 19-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter.
“I’ve been working real hard,” Parkinson said. “The line is the key, though. We have to have the line blocking so we can make plays.”
The Mustangs took the ensuing kickoff and drove 78 yards in 11 plays before settling for an 18-yard field goal by Marshall Bruns to make it 7-3 with 3:01 left in the first quarter.
“That first (scoring) drive I don’t think we were quite ready,” Hess said. “They definitely had us back on our heels a little bit.”
Galena again had great field position at its own 40 after the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds.
Jarrod Faust broke off a 10-yard run on the first snap, and then followed that up with a 9-yard gain to the Damonte Ranch 41. Faust kept the drive going with a 7-yard gain down to the 34 on a third-and-1 play. The Grizzlies faced another third-down play, Kyle Griffin swept end for 11 yards to the 14. Four plays later, Anderson scored on a 2-yard quarterback sneak. Parker’s kick made it 14-3 with 10:12 left in the half.
Damonte Ranch made another critical mistake on the ensuing kick-off. The ball was kicked in the middle, but none of the Damonte Ranch players made a play for it. The ball hit the ground untouched, and Cole Fletcher alertly fell on it at the Damonte 25.
Anderson and Parkinson hooked up for gains of 10 and 13 yards, respectively, but the Grizzlies had to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Parker and a 17-3 lead with 7:34 left.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Grizzlies scored twice in a span of three minutes to turn the game into a laugher.
The Grizzlies started the drive at their own 47, and it only took three plays and a 12-yard pass interference penalty to reach paydirt.
Pete Lazzari, who gained 80 yards rushing, capped the drive with a 12-yard scoring run. Parker’s conversion made it 24-3 with 6:57 left.
Damonte Ranch, with the help of two personal fouls on Galena, moved the ball to Galena’s 49 where it turned the ball over on downs after Ray Daniels threw three straight incomplete passes.
Galena needed just four plays to score its final touchdown.
Facing a third-and-14 from its own 45, Anderson tossed a deep ball down the left sideline to Scott Underwood for 36 yards to the Mustangs’ 19. On the next play, Anderson looked for Parkinson in the right corner of the end zone. Despite being well guarded, Parkinson reached over a defender to pull the ball in for the score.