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Davis in charge, brings Buffalo alum with him

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Weston Ranch senior Kaleb Byrd bulls over a defender and fights his way to the ball as coaches and players look on during a preseason practice in Weston Ranch.


POSTED August 29, 2013 9:01 p.m.

WESTON RANCH – Seth Davis wants to build a legacy on a South Stockton campus accustomed to uneven results and change.

Weston Ranch has traditionally been among the Valley Oak League’s most athletic teams since its debut as a varsity program in 2004, and it won a share of the league title in 2005.

Yet, Davis describes a somewhat fractured program, where constant turnover on the coaching staff has stunted the program’s progress.

“Steve Jackson was here for a couple of years. Coach (Mike) Hale was here for five years, but he had so many different coordinators and coaches at the lower levels. That’s so much inconsistency for the kids here,” said Davis, a campus monitor and reserve firefighter.

“That’s one thing Weston Ranch has never had – a set staff. I think I can have these guys around for 10 years. I want to be here for 25 years.”

“These guys” should sound familiar to Valley Oak League football fans.

Davis, a former Manteca High standout and key cog in the Buffaloes’ Sac-Joaquin Section championship run in 2005, has tapped old friends to fill out his staff.

Ten of Weston Ranch’s 14 coaches are former Manteca High football players, including five from the 2005 team that went 12-1, shared the VOL crown with Weston Ranch and Sonora, and then avenged its only loss with a 34-7 victory over the Wildcats in the section final.

Those five are: Davis, a wide receiver and safety; assistant varsity head coach Dustin Allen, a wide receiver and defensive back; offensive coordinator Mike Kuhnlenz, another wide receiver and defensive back; defensive coordinator Daniel Johnson, a hard-hitting linebacker; and junior varsity co-defensive coordinator Gus Sharmoug, a lineman.

“Coach Reis did a phenomenal job of building that brotherhood,” Davis said. “He instilled that brotherhood ... and it’s something we’ve been able to instill in these boys. It’s more than football. It’s a life experience. It’s something that only football can bring out. This time, the high school life, it’s so much more than a game. We’ve been able to push that to our boys.

“Them seeing us still as close as we are today, I can tell it already impacts them and their lives. We’re so close. ... I come to work every day with my brothers.”

Junior varsity offensive coordinator Brad Evans (quarterback and linebacker) was a member of the Buffaloes’ first-ever section championship in 2001, a team coached by Joe Miller.

Others with Manteca High ties include: varsity wide receiver and defensive backs coach Roman Penerian (receiver, 2004); JV co-defensive coordinator John Williams (receiver, 2004); varsity running backs and linebackers coach Akeem Wade (running back, 2004); and JV lines coach Spencer Tilton (lines, 2004).

The staff also includes 2004 East Union graduates Nate Nobles (varsity lines coach) and Jason Furtado (unspecified), as well as Matt O’Donnell (JV head coach) and Robert Strothers (JV wide receivers and defensive backs coach).

Weston Ranch hosts Manteca on Oct. 25 in a game that could have playoff and league title implications.

 “It’s definitely a source of pride having former players coach,” said Reis, who also has disciples at Lathrop (Ricky Martinez) and Sierra (Ryan Teicheira) high schools. “I had a chance to coach with some of high school football coaches – Jack Miller, Greg Leland and Jack Thomson. I learned a lot of football and a lot about life from them.”

The Cougars went 4-6 overall and 2-5 in league play in Hale’s final season. Weston Ranch replenishes its ranks with a heralded junior class, including one of the state’s top sprinters in John McDonald, the 2012-13 Bulletin Boys Track Athlete of the Year.

However, the program’s greatest coup may be Davis, who believes he can recreate the success he experienced playing for Reis as a newly-minted head coach.

“The game of football needs good coaches that care and the former players I have coaching fit that description,” Reis said. “They all hate to lose and understand that coach doesn’t like to lose, either.”

To contact James Burns, e-mail

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