ELKO — The first 20 seconds went about as well as it possibly could have for the Elko football team.
Of course, the rest of the game wasn’t too shabby as the Indians cruised to a lopsided 47-7 blowout victory in Northern I-A play behind four touchdowns by David Jackson.
“We executed well at the get go,” Tribe coach Luke Sellers said. “David’s explosive and that’s what he’s capable of.”
Jackson finished with 231 yards on 20 carries to go over 1,000 yards for the season.
On the opening kickoff, the Tribe’s James Carter picked up the ball and went 95 yards for a touchdown to get things going in the right direction quickly. To make matters worse for Dayton, the Dust Devils fumbled the ball away on their first play from scrimmage.
Elko capitalized on the turnover with an eight-play scoring drive capped off by a 16-yard pass from Connor Altenburg to Nathan Klekas.
“We threw the ball well tonight,” Sellers said. “(Altenburg) put the ball in the right spots. We had a couple of drops, and he had two were he overthrew it, but we just need to be proficient throwing it.”
The Dust Devils went three-and-out on their next series and gave the ball back to the Tribe. Two plays later, Jackson made his first trip into the end zone on a 27-yard run right up the middle, and the rout was on.
Dayton put together a long drive on its next possession thanks to a 35-yard run by Austin Fletcher. The Dust Devils eventually moved the ball inside the Elko 5 and faced fourth-and-1 from the 2-yard line, but Fletcher was stuffed by the Elko defense for a turnover on downs.
Elko kept its scoring barrage going with a 12-play drive. Jackson had a big catch on a screen pass and picked up 13 yards on for a key first down. At the end of the play, Dayton picked up two personal fouls, one a dead-ball penalty, and the ball was moved into Dayton territory. Inside the Dayton 20, Altenburg threw a 19-yard jumpball to Carter in the end zone, and the senior snagged the ball out of the air for the score.
Dayton finally found an answer as Fletcher, who leads the league in rushing yards, found a hole around the right side and went 68 yards for the score. However, the Dayton defense could not stop the Tribe.
“We did give up that one long,” Sellers said. “It was a mistake by one kid, but that’s what (Fletcher) is capable of doing.”
The Indians marched right back down the field, and Jackson broke through for a 54-yard run to paydirt.
Dayton continued to shoot itself in the foot with a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and Elko’s Landon Green made the recovery.
The Indians, who did not make many mistakes in the first half, had a miscue bite them. Jackson had a 17-yard touchdown called back on a hold, and the Tribe eventually gave the ball back on downs. Dayton, however, gave the ball right back with an interception on first down. Elko’s Benton Wickersham made a nice adjustment to make the pick.
This time, Elko did not falter. Altenburg hit Klekas for a 21-yard strike on first down, and Jackson finished off the drive with a four-yard run off left tackle for a score.
Dayton turned the ball over for the first time in the first half on a botched snap that Creighton Cooper recovered.
Jackson broke a 71-yard run in the second half as the lone highlight of the half. After that score, the Indians turned the ball over to their second string to close it out.
The Indians improve to 6-1 on the season and clinch a playoff berth with the win.