TRUCKEE -- Dayton coach Rick Walker isn't one for moral victories. But after a 44-30 loss to Truckee on Saturday at Surprise Stadium, that's all the Dust Devils have had the past two games. Dayton lost to Lowry 28-21 last week and even had a chance to tie on the game's final play.
"From what I've been told, that's the closest we've played those two schools in a while. That's not good enough, though. We start off with Lowry, Truckee and Spring Creek. It's bang, bang, bang right off the bat for us. We need to find a way to win one."
Dayton (2-1) did all it could against the Wolverines, but a rough first quarter gave the defending state champs too big of a lead. Truckee (2-0) outscored the Dust Devils 30-10 in the opening quarter. Dylan Morris gave the Dayton its only lead of the game after his 54 yard interception return on the game's first play from scrimmage made it 7-0. The Wolverines countered with a 10 play, 76 yard drive, capped off by James Ward nine-yard TD run that tied the game. The Wolverines scored on safety on the Dust Devils' next possession and never trailed after that.
The first half lasted over two hours, all because both teams ran almost all passing plays. Truckee's Kevin Schlesinger threw for 113 yards and three touchdowns but was intercepted four times. Dayton's Jake Deen was more impressive, throwing for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Truckee led 30-14 at halftime and running back Nick Smith provided the big play since Schlesinger wasn't able to get going. Smith rushed for 169 yards and his 33-yard TD at the beginning of the third quarter made it 37-17. Smith and a slew of other running backs just wore down Dayton, which had only 18 players in uniform.
"We gave up too much in the first quarter," Walker said. "Yeah, we were tired, that was part of it. But we still gotta play, that's no excuse. They have a winning tradition, so that might have had something to do with it. They beleive they're going to win and that's I'm trying to do here."
The Dust Devils were never able to get within two scores of the Wolverines of the second. They gained less than 50 yards of offense before Deen hooked up with R.C. Remington for a 41-yard bomb with under five minutes left in the game. That eventually led to Justin Cross' 1-yard TD run with 3:34 left in the game. Cross finished with 73 yards rushing on 19 carries.
In the first half, with the Wolverines trailing 16-7, Cross busted out for a 65-yard run, but was tackled on the Truckee 5. Dayton settled for a 26-yard field goal, which made it 16-10. Even with Deen, that's as close as the Dust Devils would get.
"For this being his first year of playing football, he's not doing a bad job," Walker said of Deen, who passed for 149 yards against Lowry. "We had a couple of drives we should've capitalized on."