Photo by Juan Villa / Collegian File
Three Bulldogs played high school football in the same state as this weekâ€™s opponent
Fresno Stateâ€™s Bobby Lepori, Ben Jacobs and Jon Monga wonâ€™t just line up against Nevada this Friday night.
Theyâ€™ll be going against opponents from the state theyâ€™re very familiar with.
All three grew up and played high school football in Nevada before donning the Bulldog red and white.
For Lepori, he will be across the sidelines from one player he was familiar with during his high school playing days.
â€œAndy McIntosh is the only one still left that started out with the Wolf Pack,â€ Lepori said. â€œKenny Viser and Luke Rippee played but are no longer with the team.â€
McIntosh played wide receiver for Douglas High School in Gardnerville, Nev. during Leporiâ€™s high school football career in the Silver State.
Kenny Viser played running back while at Bishop Manogue High along with Lepori. Viser was dismissed from the Wolf Pack before the 2008 season.
Lepori was considered one of the top offensive linemen to come out of Nevada while at Bishop Manogue High in Reno. He was a two-time All-State selection before coming to Fresno State.
One of his favorite moments playing in Nevada was playing for a state championship twice.
â€œState championships were in Mackay, which is the stadium where Nevada plays,â€ Lepori said. â€œWe won our state championship there. So that was kind of a special moment to do that two years in a row.â€
Lepori was recruited by Nevada, Colorado, Washington and Arizona State. He originally signed on to play for Nevada after high school.
Juan Villa / Collegian File Photo
But the 6-5, 290-pound tackle became a walk-on for the Bulldogs after a change of heart in 2004.
Lepori then earned a scholarship in his second year with the program and is now a three-year starter at left tackle.
Even though Lepori is one of three Bulldogs to play high school football in Nevada, he didnâ€™t line up against current teammates Jacobs and Monga during his prep career.
â€œI never played against either one of them,â€ Lepori said. â€œThey played in a higher division than I did.â€
Jacobs was a three-year varsity starter at Silverado High School in Las Vegas. He was the Southeast Sunrise District Defensive Player of the Year during his senior season.
He was also First Team All-State as an inside linebacker and also scored two touchdowns as a tight end.
Jacobs is now leading the â€™Dogs in tackles at middle linebacker in only his sophomore year, which was something that he didnâ€™t expect.
Jacobs wonâ€™t be lining up against some of his former teammates at Silverado this Friday night. But seven different Wolf Pack players hail from Jacobsâ€™ hometown of Las Vegas, with most of them being either freshmen or redshirt freshmen.
Jon Monga was a two-way player for Foothill High School in Henderson, Nev. He was a First Team All-Southern Nevada selection after his senior season for recording 50 tackles, 2.5 sacks and forcing four fumbles.
Monga has a desire to not speak with the media, but his play shows a desire to make an impact along the defensive line.
The 6-foot-2-inch, 280-pound Monga is one of the leaders in stopping the run for Fresno State, with three tackles behind the line of scrimmage this year and is tied for second on the defense in sacks.
Lepori and Monga are in their senior seasons at Fresno State. Jacobs is in his second year with the football program and is expected to lead the Bulldog defense for the next two seasons.
Jacobs feels that his experience at Silverado High School has helped with his play at Fresno State.
â€œIt was fun,â€ Jacobs said. â€œI learned and played a lot. I just developed my strength and just let the game make me better.â€
Getting to know the Nevada Wolf Pack…
2007 Record: 6-7 (4-4 in WAC)
The story so far: The Wolf Pack is an even 4-4 on the season, winning the games they should have and losing the tough games on the schedule. Nevadaâ€™s biggest win on the season came against instate rival UNLV and the Packâ€™s closest loss came to now No. 2 Texas Tech, 35-19. Nevada head coach Chris Ault has built a high-powered offense around dual-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Nevadaâ€™s rush offense is currently the second-rated rushing attack in college football.
Impact Players: Offense – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick – The quarterback has definitely avoided the sophomore slump in his second year under center for the Pack. Kaepernick is currently the No. 2 rusher in the WAC averaging 94 yards per game and No. 1 in total offense per game with 284 yards per game. Kaepernick will give the Bulldogsâ€™ defense trouble with his ability to scramble and keep plays alive.
Defense – Free safety Uche Anyanwu – The senior leads the defense from his safety position with 46 tackles this season, including two tackles for loss. Anyanwu has also had an interception and three defended passes in his last year with the Pack. The physical, 220-pound safety will play a big role in slowing down the Bulldog rushing attack.
The Buzz: The Bulldogs come into this game with a little desperation, coming off a loss in Ruston to Louisiana Tech. But the Wolf Pack still has plenty left to play for, with a bowl birth still alive. The game will come down to rush defense, a category in which the Bulldogs rank 106-of-119 in college football, giving up over 200 yards per game. The team that believes it has more to play for and plays with more desperation for the postseason will win Friday at Bulldog Stadium.