Cougars and Spartans Battle for I-5 Trophy Tonight


Weston Ranch and Lathrop will tangle in the Battle of I-5 tonight at Weston Ranch. The Cougars (1-1) welcome the Spartans (1-1), and with bragging rights on the line, tonight’s contest should be a good one.

The series began back in 2009. Weston Ranch secured the first win by besting the Spartans 27-7. The Cougars would go on to win the next five. However, as Lathrop grew and improved, the tide shifted to the Spartans. Lathrop reeled off four wins in a row before the series ended after the 2017 season. The schools renewed the rivalry last year, and the Spartans prevailed 14-13. According to our research, Weston Ranch leads the series 6-5. While the Cougars have the edge in total victories, Lathrop has the current win streak and has blown out the Cougars, outscoring them 148-64 during that stretch of five wins.

The 2022 version of the game promises to be an exciting affair. The Cougars (1-1) are coming off their thrilling 28-25 opening game win over Grace Davis and a 26-20 loss last week at Mountain House. The Spartans (1-1) lost their first game to Bradshaw Christian 35-28 and then blew out Mt. Diablo High School 56-0 last week. But rivalry games like this mean you probably can throw out the record books. Something about playing a rival in football means there is more involved than just strategy.

The Cougars need to rebound from last week’s loss at Mountain House. In a challenging game, Weston Ranch made errors that cost them possessions and set them back.

“The game was pretty much what we expected, a battle,” head coach Ron Wayman said. “Mountain House got more big plays than we did, and we could not hold on to the ball (4 fumbles-lost 2 and 2 interceptions). Turnovers are the tale of the game. Too many and you are fighting an uphill battle, which is what we did. The strength of our Offensive Line has shown positively in the last two games. They started slowly at Mountain House but then settled in and did a great job, led by Joseph Richardson. The game gave us some good things built on and some things to work on for tonight’s Battle of I-5 against Lathrop.”

Tonight against Lathrop, Weston Ranch will need to do two things: run and protect the football. Lathrop has a grind-it-out attack which may limit the number of times the Cougars have possession, so Weston Ranch needs to rely on long drives to eat up clock and keep the ball out of the hands of the Spartans as many times as possible.

“For Lathrop, the real key for us is to hold on to the ball,” Wayman said. “We cannot have turnovers and need to control the game offensively and defensively. Defensively, Lathrop will try to have the same game plan against us. They have only passed the ball 11 times in their last two games and completed two. So for them, it is all about the run game. We have made minor changes to our defense to combat their run game that we think will allow us to control their run game. Offensively, our line still needs to play big, strong, and fast. They will need to establish our game and let us execute it. The other key offensively is what I said earlier, and we need to hold onto the ball and not have turnovers.”

Weston Ranch has shown in the past two games they can run and pass the football. The Cougars, led by QB Jose Aguilar, have thrown for 360 yards on 17 out of 36 attempts and three TDs. They also can run the football. Senior Namir Brown-Sangar and Junior De’antae Lavan have helped the Cougars amass 261 yards rushing the past two games, with two TDs, for a two-game average of 130 yards.

The Cougars will need every bit of the passing and rushing yardage to keep up with the dangerous Spartans offense. Lathrop has rushed for 731 yards in two games thus far ( and is led by Senior Kameron Jones, who has 307 yards rushing and scored five TDs. The Spartans don’t pass the ball much (11 pass attempts in two games), so the defense must be ready to stop the run.

The I-5 Game seems to have everyone on both campuses talking, which is why it’s great the game between these two schools will continue tonight.

“This is our last preseason tune-up before we face Edison next Friday, and as with the previous two games, it will be tough,” Wayman said. “There is a lot on the line, and we need to bring the Battle of I-5 trophy home to the Ranch where it started and is rooted here. We know what this game will be like and have prepared for the battle.”

The kickoff for tonight’s game will begin at 7:30. The JV games will start at 5:30.