Dayton football coach Rob Turner said he and his staff spent most of the bus ride home talking about the 2013 season instead of rehashing its win over Fernley.
"We were talking about who we would put where next year, the returning kids and who would be coming up from the JV team," Turner said earlier this week. "We had a pretty good finish. It gave us some momentum heading into next year.
"The kids believed in what they were doing or we wouldn't have won those last two games (Sparks and Fernley)."
The Dust Devils won their last two games of the season to finish 4-5, but failed to accomplish their goal of reaching the regional playoffs.
"We had pretty high hopes for this season," Turner said. "We had probably the toughest first four games of league than anybody, and I thougt if we went 2-2 we'd be OK. We beat Spring Creek, but lost to Truckee, Fallon and Lowry.
"We came out of those (three) games beat up. It was a tough stretch between Spring Creek and Wooster when we got our next win."
Turner believes, and rightfully so, that the Dust Devils probably should have finished 6-3. Dayton lost a 37-36 thriller to South Tahoe and then dropped a 21-16 decision to Eko.
"South Tahoe was an exciting game," Turner said. "It went back and forth. It was one of those games where whoever had the ball last was going to win. The Elko game we just completely fell apart the last four minutes of the game.
"For the most part we moved the ball against everybody. Good teams, however, make you make mistakes."
Turnovers and penalties plagued the Dust Devils in their losses to Lowry, Fallon, Truckee and Elko.
Turner promises that the Dust Devils will be implenting some new offensive strategy to go with its double-wing attack. Turner admitted that it's tough for his team to come back when it gets behind two scores late because the double-wing is predicated on long drives. Dayton threw just 39 times in nine games.
"We've been talking about some I-back sets," Turner said. "You'll see us open it up a little more next year."
And, as far as skill positions go, he'll have the weapons to do that. Jake Turner graduates, but Skyler Berntson was the QB the last two games, and he'll battle Jack Phillips for the starting job. Running backs Austin Fletcher (591 yards, 8 TDs), Payton Morena (139 yards, 3 TDs), Quinn Santana (171 yards, 1 TD) and Taryn Aguilera (599 yards, 8 TDs) are all back.
The biggest holes will be on the offensive line, which is the heart of the offense. The biggest loss will be Josh Joyner.