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2A STATE: The Meadows eyes new dynasty

Austin Brown and Josh Raimist were elementary school students at The Meadows when its high school football team won a fifth straight Class 2A state title in 2001.

Now, both players are helping lead what could be a new dynasty for the Mustangs.

The Meadows (10-1) will play for its second consecutive state title at 6 p.m. Saturday against Battle Mountain (9-2) at Damonte Ranch High in Reno.

“I’ve been here since kindergarten, and it was really cool to watch that happen,” Brown, a junior receiver/defensive back, said of the Mustangs’ last dynasty. “Hopefully, we can get that legacy going again.”

Frank DeSantis coached The Meadows to the five titles and 41 straight wins before leaving after the 2001 season. He came back in 2007, and the Mustangs are one victory away from a second state title since his return.

Raimist, a senior linebacker/guard who has attended The Meadows since third grade, is proud the Mustangs have rekindled a winning tradition. His brother, Sam, was a linebacker and fullback on the 2001 title team.

“It really felt good to come back and win state (last year),” Raimist said. “The last time they had won was with my brother. I wanted to keep that tradition going.”

The Meadows hasn’t regressed since losing its two offensive stars from last season. Pat Kenny graduated after rushing for 22 touchdowns, and Gerard Martinez transferred to Cimarron-Memorial after passing for 33 TDs as a freshman.

In fact, the Mustangs average 38.3 points per game this season, compared with 33.4 last year.

Sophomore quarterback Garrett Gosse has led a pass-oriented offense, completing 59.7 percent of his attempts for 2,097 yards and 32 TDs. His favorite targets are Brown (34 receptions, 643 yards, 15 TDs) and tight end Dylan Lee (43 receptions, 736 yards, eight TDs).

David Liu has helped replace Kenny by rushing for 723 yards and 11 scores.

While The Meadows beat visiting Pershing County 38-20 in the semifinals, Battle Mountain is coming off a 35-8 home win over Mountain View.

After allowing 70 total points in their first four games, the Longhorns have surrendered double digits only once in their past seven.

“We struggled with getting our kids in the right place early in the year, but since we’ve gotten everybody where we wanted,” Battle Mountain coach Tim Knight said.

The Longhorns are buoyed by a running game led by Mike Lake (1,228 yards, 13 TDs) and Justin Gray (950 yards, nine TDs).

“Justin, he’ll just pound it so hard, you’ve got to bring everybody in the box, and then Lake will get you on the outside,” Knight said.

Ten seniors will play in their final high school game Saturday for The Meadows. Raimist hopes it will be a fond memory.

“All of the seniors really have the idea that it’s the last time we’re ever going to play football in our lives,” he said. “We need to go out and win and have a good memory.”

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