Diamond Ranch Academy: For many, a true jewel in the desert

Diamond Ranch Academy vs. Desert Hills JV, Football, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 27, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

HURRICANE — As far as schools go, Diamond Ranch Academy seems like the perfect slice of Americana.

draThere’s the glistening football field, with a quality football team to match. Cheerleaders, a pep band and a raucous home crowd complete the picture as the DRA kicker booted rockets out of the end zone Thursday night.

Diamond Ranch, a private, tuitioned school that is geared toward rehabilitating and educating teens who have slipped out of the mainstream for various reasons, is still trying to find its niche in Utah high school sports. Competing as a 1A school, based on size, the Diamondbacks played for the state championship last season, losing to Rich 20-0, a week after beating Kanab 29-28 in the semifinals.

Diamond Ranch Academy vs. Desert Hills JV, Football, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 27, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Diamond Ranch Academy vs. Desert Hills JV, Football, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 27, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Talent-wise, DRA attracts some athletes who are college-level players. But with an extremely high tuition that includes room and board and an average stay of just 10-12-months at the school, establishing any kind of consistency can be difficult. The athletes come — from around the country — and just like that, they are gone again. Treatment finished. Game over.

Still, football coach Robbie Dias makes it clear on the school’s athletic website that sports is critical to the school and its students.

“Diamond Ranch Academy athletic programs are an important source of positive influence in our male students’ lives and an essential part of their physical and emotional health,” he said. “Sports help keep boys active and physically fit, while providing them with a healthy way to channel their intense physicality and aggression. They also help develop self-control and self-confidence, improving a person’s overall attitude toward life.”

Diamond Ranch defensive back Corey Tullen (9) in pursuit of the Desert Hills quarterback Kobe SattiewhiteDiamond Ranch Academy vs. Desert Hills JV, Football, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 27, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Diamond Ranch defensive back Corey Tullen (9) in pursuit of the Desert Hills quarterback Kobe Sattiewhite, Diamond Ranch Academy vs. Desert Hills JV, Football, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 27, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Thursday night, the D-backs competed against the Desert Hills junior varsity, winning 33-22. If the team stays intact, which isn’t likely, it should compete for the 1A title once again.

DRA also competes in basketball, baseball and other varsity sports as well as several girls varsity sports. But having a team in Hurricane with not a single player from that town, or any other local city, makes for a rough job in establishing a fan base. Again, Dias and his staff are very sure in pointing out that they play for the kids, not the fans.

“Sports at Diamond Ranch Academy give our boys the opportunity to learn more about themselves – to become disciplined, to trust others and to be trustworthy,” the website states. “As our student athletes participate in these activities, they learn what it means to commit to something and be a team player. They assume leadership roles. They

Diamond Ranch Academy vs. Desert Hills JV, Football, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 27, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Diamond Ranch Academy vs. Desert Hills JV, Football, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 27, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

learn to work together toward a goal while still being accountable to rules and standards. They develop confidence and self-esteem. They find joy in being actively engaged in good causes.  As our boys participate in these sports, treatment is taking place … Our sports aren’t about winning, though we like to do that too! They’re a valuable tool in the journey of personal improvement, and they provide means for growth that are totally unique. That’s why Diamond Ranch Academy will always place importance on the value of sports.”

Diamond Ranch opened the season with a 42-13 win over Enterprise and competes in the 1A South Region, going undefeated in region play last season. The Diamondbacks play at home against Duchesne next week with region play beginning in early October.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Mean Momma August 28, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Those uniforms are sick! Best of luck to DRA!

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