The Prowl

The Student News Site of Weston Ranch High School

The Prowl

The Prowl

Cougars Stop Spartans to Secure First Win of Season


Weston Ranch football beat Grace Davis of Modesto last Friday night at Cougar Stadium. The Cougars piled up 267 yards of total offense and held off a late rally from the Spartans to post the 28-25 victory. The victory was the Cougars’ first opening game win since 2016 (a 40-13 win over Ceres High School) and avenged a 28-0 2021 opening game loss to Grace Davis.

“A total team effort and team win,” said head coach Ron Wayman. “My overall feeling and thoughts about this game were that this team has embraced the change and culture. I asked them three things this off-season (to prepare themselves, commit themselves, and deliver). Then under the Friday Night Lights against Davis, they demonstrated all three immensely.”

Senior RB-WR Namir Brown-Sanger amassed 235 all-purpose yards, ran back an 85-yard interception for a TD, and also returned a punt 51 yards for a TD to highlight the Weston Ranch scoring. Senior Chris Buttram added a 34-yard pass reception from Junior QB Jose Aguilar for a TD, and Junior De’antae Lavan sprinted 51 yards for his first rushing TD of the year to round out the scoring.

“The game was a great team effort, led by our offense,” said Wayman. “The Offensive Line protected and gave enough time for our QB Jose Aguilar to go 9/17 and 167 yards. Then, they cleared the way for De’Antae and Namir to run for some big gains.”

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Grace Davis got on the scoreboard first after finishing their first drive with a field goal. It remained 3-0 until Brown-Sanger snatched a Grace Davis pass at the Cougars’ 15-yard line and raced up the right sideline for the first Weston Ranch touchdown.

The Spartans took over and marched 54 yards for their first touchdown and led 10-7 with 7:16 remaining in the half. Weston Ranch took over but punted back to Grace Davis. The Spartans fumbled at the Weston Ranch 49-yard line, and the Cougars readied for their next possession. Lavan took the handoff and scampered 51 yards for the touchdown, and the Cougars were in front 14-10 with 3:40 remaining in the first half. However, a celebration penalty forced the Cougars to kickoff deep in their territory. The Spartans had a short field to work the remaining three minutes, eventually scoring another rushing TD with 58 seconds to go in the half.

Aguilar hit sophomore Josh Mellion on the left sideline for a 50-yard completion, and the Cougars got to the Spartans’ 10-yard line. A chaotic series of plays followed, and Lavan got down to the Spartans’ 2-yard line with seconds remaining in the first half. Weston Ranch took an offsides penalty to kill the clock, and when play resumed, Aguilar’s pass to the back corner of the end zone fell to the ground, and the half ended with the Cougars trailing 20-17.

The second half began with the Cougars on offense first. They collected 67 yards, using six minutes of the clock, but a lost fumble gave the Spartans the ball on their own 16-yard line, and Weston Ranch forced a Grace Davis punt, setting up Brown-Sangers’s next touchdown. Brown-Sanger took the kick 52 yards for a score, and the Cougars took a 20-17 lead. Both teams struggled offensively and exchanged punts to close out the 3rd quarter.

The 4th quarter got exciting for both teams. Aguilar’s 34-yard TD strike to Buttram put the Cougars up 28-17 with 6 minutes remaining and gave Weston Ranch an 11-point lead and some breathing room. However, the Spartans took the ensuing Cougar’s kickoff 80 yards for a TD, and the Cougars’ lead was back to three points at 28-25.

The Cougars took the next possession needing to eat up the clock and take pressure off their defense, who had come up big all night. Weston Ranch took the ball at their own 32-yard line and reeled off 45 yards, including an Aguilar to Brown-Sanger pass completion that covered 31 yards. However, Aguilar threw an interception, and Grace Davis took over at their 2-yard line with 1:53 to go in the game. The Spartans needed to travel 98 yards to set up a tieing field goal or a go-ahead TD. They almost did.

A 55-yard pass completion got the Spartans inside Cougars territory. Three plays later, Grace Davis was at the Cougars’ five-yard line. With 5 seconds left and no time-outs, Grace Davis went for the win. But, after the dust settled, Weston Ranch made a tackle at their own 1-yard line, and the game was over. Grace Davis traveled 97 yards in the final 1:53, but the Cougars’ defense didn’t let them go 98, and Weston Ranch won the football game.

“Our defensive stand at the end of the game pretty much told the story of the game,” Wayman said. “They were able to make a great stand and bring the victory home.”

Wayman added, “Thank you to the families, community, and students and teachers who came out to support us. We could hear you, feel your excitement, and we knew you were behind us to help bring home the victory.”

The Cougars will hit the road this Friday for their game against Moutain House High School of Tracy. JV will begin at 5 pm, and the Varsity will follow at 7 pm.

QB Jose Aguilar sets the offense
JR. De’antae Lavan looks to escape Grace Davis defender
Sophomore Samuel Frazier stops another Spartan runner
Cougar defense with another big stop

Photos courtesy of Amanda Ek

*any reproduction of this story without permission of The Prowl is discouraged.


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Cougars Stop Spartans to Secure First Win of Season