DAYTON - The Dayton Dust Devils football team vented a lot of its frustrations Friday night, and celebrated Senior Night in style by crushing Sparks, 68-6.
The Dust Devils won the coin toss and their night just got better from there, as Dayton scored on its first three possessions and four of five in the first half. The Dust Devils, who have been eliminated from the playoffs, are playing for pride in the final few weeks.
The first drive took just five plays as senior Tyler Ortiz got 58 yards on his first three carries. Fellow senior Christian Davis gained 13 yards before scoring from the three on first and goal. The two-point attempt was no good and Dayton led 6-0.
"That first touchdown drive, we had all eight seniors out there," said Dayton coach Rob Turner. "They were up for this game and ready and got the job done."
Sparks relied on a potent running game behind Hennessy Banks, who rushed for 184 yards and a touchdown, but fumbles and penalties served to put the Railroaders in trouble through out the night.
Dayton effectively put the game out of reach on its second possession when Austin Fletcher broke loose for a 71-yard scoring scamper. Taryn Aguilera's successful two-point conversion gave Dayton a 14-0 lead.
Sparks fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Dayton's Jesus Castaneda recovered the ball at the Railroaders' 25. Fletcher gained six yards before scoring on second down from the 19. With 1:08 left in the first quarter, Dayton held a 22-0 advantage.
The Dust Devils would score once more in the half when Skyler Berntson found senior tight end Joey Doyle open behind the defense for a 25-yard touchdown just before the half ended. Aguilera's run for the conversion gave Dayton a 30-0 lead at the half.
Aguilera would start the scoring in the second half, scooping up a Banks fumble on Sparks opening possessions and rumbling 48 yards to pay dirt.
Austin Fletcher scored on consecutive touches, going 58 yards to end the third quarter, and scoring from 33 yards out on the first play of Dayton's next possession in the fourth quarter.
Ortiz scored on a 26-yard run before junior linebacker Jesse May finished things off with a 38-yard interception return.
The Railroaders lone touchdown came on a 10-yard run by Banks with 2:16 remaining in the third quarter.
Austin Fletcher rushed for 107 yards and had 91 yards rushing two touchdowns in the first quarter. Payton Morena gained 91 yards and scored twice. Tyler Ortiz gained 81 yards and scored a touchdown and two two-point conversions.
Dayton ran the ball for 350 yards, 231 coming in the first half, and gained 85 passing yards.
"Our seniors played great," Turner said. "A tip of the hat to the seniors tonight. They did a great job. And our sophomores, our sophomore backup quarterback and our sophomore linebackers. Skyler Berntson at quarterback and Quentin Santana and Jonathan Joiner at outside linebacker, they stepped up and did a great job for us too."
Dayton, 3-5, finishes the season at Fernley on Thursday.