When Shawn Dupris left Bonanza in 2012 to become the football coach at Damonte Ranch in Reno, he saw potential to build one of Northern Nevada’s top programs.
It took five seasons, but Dupris’ vision is beginning to come to fruition.
The Mustangs (12-1) unseated powerhouse Reed last week to capture their first Class 4A Northern Region title and take on Liberty in the state semifinals at 1:15 p.m. Saturday at McQueen High in Reno.
“I’m from the Midwest, and my philosophy is — I’ve seen it growing up — the smaller towns, the communities like that, you get everybody on the same page and you build from there,” said Dupris, a South Dakota native. “That was my goal, and that was what I had in mind.
“I’m not going to say I haven’t ruffled some feathers with the way that I do things, but I have a belief (that) what I believe in works.”
Dupris went 23-28 in five years at Bonanza, including a 7-3 mark in 2011.
He guided Damonte Ranch to the Division I Northern Region title game in his first season, and the Mustangs went 7-4 the next season before posting back-to-back 4-7 records.
“It takes time to make people believe,” Dupris said. “It was one of those thing we had to ingrain in them, ‘Listen, you’re capable. You can do these things.’ Because we do have athletes. They work hard. It’s just a process.”
In last week’s region final, Damonte Ranch trailed 31-7 after a mistake-filled first half but rallied for a 49-45 victory. Reed won the past five Northern Region titles, and the win signaled the Mustangs’ emergence as a worthy challenger for the foreseeable future.
“It’s something that takes time to establish, but that’s what we’re doing, and we feel pretty good about where we’re at right now,” Dupris said.
Damonte Ranch enters Saturday’s game against Liberty with 12 straight victories after a season-opening loss to unbeaten Cathedral Catholic of San Diego.
The Mustangs feature the state’s No. 2 offense (468.2 yards per game) led by sophomore quarterback Cade McNamara and senior running back Cameron Sandoval.
“I think our programs are very similar,” Dupris said. “I think it will be a fun game to watch. We’re definitely looking forward to it. We respect them, but we deserve to be on the field with them and to do this. We’re excited.”
JONES PICKED FOR ALL-AMERICAN GAME
Bishop Gorman senior girls soccer player Arlie Jones was one of 42 players selected for the High School All-American Game on Dec. 3 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Jones, who has committed to Southern California, was a member of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team that participated in the Women’s International Cup in Northern Ireland last month.
AGGIES IN RANKINGS
Arbor View girls soccer team, which captured its fifth straight state title, is ranked No. 22 in the final USA Today/National Soccer Coaches Association of America national poll.
Shadow Ridge senior Anthony Reese to University of Sioux Falls (South Dakota) for baseball.
Arbor View senior Kalli Hosier to Adams State (Colorado) for women’s basketball.
Faith Lutheran senior Kimberlee Tottori to Seattle University for women’s golf.
Faith Lutheran seniors Matt Manfredi to Cleveland State and Justin Taylor to St. Leo University (Florida) for men’s lacrosse.
Las Vegas seniors Summer Horn to Langston University (Oklahoma) and Sabrina Saldate to Adams State for softball.
Boulder City seniors Mandy Gebhart to Utah, Montana Lloyd to Houston and Abby Sauerbrei to Grand Valley State (Michigan) for women’s swimming.
Contact reporter David Schoen at email@example.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.