FALLON — An avalanche of turnovers doomed the Dayton football team.
Seven turnovers, including four interceptions, lifted Fallon to a 54-7 Northern Division I-A win Friday.
The Greenwave defense, meanwhile, took those opportunities and cashed in. The Wave returned an interception and two fumbles for touchdowns as Fallon improved to 3-0 in league play. With the loss, Dayton falls to 1-3 overall, 1-2 in league.
“It (the turnovers) took us out of what we wanted to do offensively,” Dayton coach Rob Turner said. “That’s a very, very good team. They are so fast.”
Fallon sophomore sensation Cameron Matzen opened the scoring barrage in the first quarter when he picked off a pass from Dust Devils quarterback Davis Winebarger and bolted 50 yards for the score.
Not to be outdone, Fallon senior running back Trent Tarner scampered for a 14-yard TD with 7:40 left in the first quarter. Dayton’s next drive, though, lasted one play when Tarner picked off Winebarger and returned the ball 29 yards to the Dust Devils’ 1-yard line. He scored on the next play.
“It was a comedy of errors in the first quarter and we just couldn’t dig out of that,” Turner said. “You hate to see that … but we always play hard.”
Dayton’s next drive showed signs of optimism when Winebarger connected with Jaret Reed for 30 yards and Austin Fletcher ran for 25 yards down to Fallon’s 13. Winebarger’s next pass, though, was intercepted by Dakota Schelling, who made an acrobatic, one-handed interception at the 4 to kill the drive.
“We were kind of opportunistic,” Fallon coach Brooke Hill said. “We got to a little better job offensively. Our defense is really playing well.”
In the second quarter, Fallon running back Nathan Heck weaved his way for a 50-yard TD, and linebacker Evan Bitter returned a Winebarger fumble 7 yards to push the lead to 34-0. The Wave iced the game with a 53-yard TD pass from Morgan Dirickson to Matzen with 6:37 left in the half.
Fallon added two more scores in the second half, while Dayton managed to score late in the third quarter.
Fletcher carried the load as the senior ran for 40 and 15 yards on consecutive plays to put Dayton at the Wave’s 14. Two plays later, Fletcher took a pass from Winebarger and rumbled 12 yards for the TD.
“He’s a real easy kid to coach,” Turner said of Fletcher. “He’s a tough kid. He does whatever we ask him to do.”
Fallon’s offense, meanwhile, struggled at times in the passing game as Dirickson completed 3 of 13 passes for 90 yards with two TDs and one interception. Tarner ran for 31 yards and two scores, while Heck had a team-high 50 yards on one carry.
Fletcher led the Dayton attack with a game-high 99 yards on 13 carries, and added two receptions for 13 yards. Winebarger struggled as he completed 6 of 13 passes for 112 yards with one TD and four interceptions.
Turner, though, said his club must tackle better as they prepare for Lowry (4-0, 3-0), who crushed South Tahoe, 57-0, on Friday.
“We have Lowry next week, and they have two kids just as good as Trent (Tarner),” Turner said. “They were getting through, our line and linebackers. We just got to get back to the fundamentals.”