TRUCKEE - Dayton head coach Rick Walker kept the reasoning simple for his team's lopsided loss at defending champion Truckee on Saturday.
"We talked all about how if we didn't match Truckee's intensity, there was no way we were going to win. And we didn't," the coach said, describing the Northern 3A contest as "ugly."
The Wolverines (1-0) wasted little time pulling away from the Dust Devils (1-1), as they stormed out to a 27-0 first quarter lead and extended the margin to 41-0 by the half. Dayton showed signs of life after the break, limiting Truckee to only a third-quarter field goal, but by that time the score was well out of reach.
"We showed some pride in second half; we didn't quit," Walker said. "But it's the same thing every year with Truckee. (Coach) Bob (Shaffer) does a great job. They have another good, physical team, and we didn't match their intensity at all."
Despite the big win, Shaffer still was stewing after the game about the number of mistakes his Wolverines committed, particularly in the final three quarters.
"It was a win," the coach said. "We had a good first quarter. But the other three quarters were pretty bad. Not from a defensive standpoint; our defense did well for the most part. It was our offense that had too many turnovers and penalties.
"We can't play that way and expect to beat anyone else. We can't just play one quarter and think we're going to win."
From the start the Wolverines looked like they hadn't skipped a beat since last year's championship run, when they finished a perfect 12-0 en route to their ninth state title. After a Dayton three-and-out to begin the game, Truckee scored touchdowns on four of its first 11 plays from scrimmage to build a quick 27-0 lead.
Truckee senior quarterback Ben Bolton connected on 9 of 10 passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half. He rushed for another touchdown, while he connected on TD tosses of 50, 35 and 7 yards.
Shaffer, unhappy with his offensive first unit's execution after the half, yanked Bolton and company following an opening series that went backward due to several penalties and a fumble.
"I couldn't take any more of watching them," Shaffer said. "Why would I want to see any more of that?"
Dayton senior quarterback Kage Walker came out firing on the Dust Devils' second series of the third quarter. Walker hit Logan Jones for a 32-yard gain on first down, then followed with a 38-yard strike to Dusty Smith on the next play to set up Dayton with a first-and-10 at the Truckee 10-yard line.
But after a holding call moved the Dust Devils back 10 yards, Truckee junior Trevor Auldridge intercepted a Walker pass in the end zone four plays later for a touchback. It was the closest Dayton would get to the goal line.
Walker finished 4 of 18 for 81 yards with the one interception, while senior Kyle Onstott carried the load at running back, rushing for 40 yards on 20 carries. Jones had two catches for 39 yards.
For the Wolverines, senior Colin Christian finished with 72 yards to lead a rushing attach that accumulated 341 yards on 45 carries. Luke Theis led Truckee receivers with a 50-yard touchdown catch.