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October 25, 2014

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high school football:

Rancho’s Armstrong determined to build a winner

Despite being shut out last week in season opener, Rancho’s Armstrong stays positive in developing Rams’ program

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Rancho High football players (from left) Yasser Rebolledo Shawn Spencer and Jakob Mitchell before the 2013 season.

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer go through the schedule and discuss all of Saturday's games after looking back at the major topics to come out of the first two weeks of football.

Tyrone Armstrong, Rancho head coach

Tyrone Armstrong, Rancho head coach, talks about the upcoming season.

Northeast League — 2013

Canyon Springs football players, from left, defensive back Raequan Bascombe, linebacker Isiah Carter, defensive lineman Rayshawn Henderson, running back Zaviontay Stevenson and defensive back A.J. Cooper.

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Tyrone Armstrong knew the challenge ahead of him when he took over the Rancho High football program in the offseason.

The Rams didn’t win a game last season and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010.

So, one of Armstrong’s first missions was to develop a new mindset geared toward winning, which he learned last week would be easier said than done. Rancho didn’t score in dropping its opener to Clark, but Armstrong hasn’t lost his focus.

“In order to build for the future, you have to put things in the W column,” Armstrong said.

Changing the mindset was just one of the few things Armstrong had on his lists of things to check off before Rancho’s turnaround could be completed.

He wanted dedication from his players to get into the weight room to get bigger, stronger and faster. He wanted to make sure they were making smart decisions both on and off the field.

Both items have been checked off the list, Armstrong proudly says — a step in the right direction.

“We’re putting the building blocks in place,” he said. “Those are the two things right now that have been accomplished.”

Count lineman Jakob Mitchell as one of the players buying into Armstrong’s philosophy. He’s trusting that Armstrong is the person to get the Rams a few wins.

“He has been amazing. He has done a lot of amazing things,” Mitchell said. “Basically he is starting to turn it around.”

Mitchell, a junior, is part of a group of underclassmen who are doing their part in steering the ship in the right direction.

Fellow juniors Kwansi Cooper and Isaac Scott are also among the junior leaders on the team.

Armstrong has liked what he’s seen from the underclassmen, especially given that they’re sick of the mentality that seeing Rancho on the schedule meant victory.

“They have energy and motivation. They don’t have a lot of bad habits, and you can correct a lot of stuff,” Armstrong said. “That will permeate into the younger group because they’re excited, and they’re close to the freshmen. … They have an attitude about them, and even though they haven’t won, they still have an attitude of wanting to win.”

Even though Armstrong has a plan in place to help Rancho win down the line, he doesn’t want to leave seniors like Shawn Spencer out to dry in a hopeless season.

He wants to win for seniors while building something in the longterm.

“We want to get some wins for the seniors, because they have not won that many games,” Armstrong said. “In the meantime, though, we have to build (a program), so it will last.”

Paul Delos Santos can be reached at 990-2416 or mail to [email protected] Follow Paul on Twitter at twitter.com/pauliedelos.

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