Dayton ushers in the Rob Turner Era tonight

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A new era in Dayton High football begins tonight when the Dust Devils host defending 2A champion Lovelock.

Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.

Rob Turner has taken the head spot after veteran coach Rick Walker stepped down following last season.

It's been a pretty smooth transition according to Turner, who said he's experiencing some first-game jitters.

"The kids have been working so hard and they are buying into the system which is huge," Turner said. "I'm happy with what I've seen and their frame of mind."

The biggest change will come on the offensive side of the ball. Walker's pistol offense has given way to the double-wing, a ball-control offense.

It's an offense based on misdirection. There are no wide receivers.

"Steve Yeater is our offensive coordinator, and we coached youth football together for several years," Turner said. "That's what we ran. I'm not an offensive-minded guy. It's all his. We're not big. We have some decent-sized guys, but we're kind of small.

"We'll be in real tight splits. We can expand wider, but we'll start in tight splits. It's a 1920s or 1930s offense. It's not flashy. We want to keep our defense off the field as much as possible. The ball is golden and it's our ball."

Turner estimates that if the offense is clicking he might throw four times tops.

That means much of Dayton's success will depend on interior linemen Darren Smith, Josh Joyner (280 pounds), Oscar Toledo (180), Cameron McGifford (between 200 and 210), Lucas Jones (220) and Nieko Bustos (220) plus tight ends Taryn Aguilera and Adan Gomez.

"They are the heart and soul of the team," Turner said. "If we can't move the ball we're going to be out of luck.

"I have confidence that we'll be able to move the ball on the ground, though. If we have to pass four times, I expect to have four completions. I don't have exact stats, but we averaged over five yards a carry versus Yerington. We did really well."

Gomez, a basketball player, is just learning the game. He played soccer as a junior, and he will be the team's kicker.

"He decided to come to us," Turner said. "So far he's done well. We haven't had a kicker here for a long time."

Turner said that in the double-wing offense everybody is a blocker, including the quarterback.

The quarterback happens to be Turner's son, Jake. Walker coached his son, Kage, also a quarterback his last two seasons on the Dayton varsity. Turner will be backed up by D.J. Maraven.

"He (Jake) is getting better," the elder Turner said. "He's been throwing pretty well. We're only going to throw a few times a game. His main job is to hand it off and be a blocker.

"After he pitches the ball or tosses it, he's leading the runner through the hole. It's a new system for him."

The running back is Sean deRubertis, while Tyler Firestone and Cody Yeater are the wing backs. Firestone and deRubertis are starting their third season on varsity, so Turner is expecting maturity and leadership plus some good numbers from them.

"He (deRubertis) is a pounder," Turner said. "He's a lead blocker and a tough kid. He goes hard. He likes contact.

"Both Cody and Tyler are pretty fast. Tyler is a lot stronger. Cody is very athletic."

Things haven't changed much defensively. The Dust Devils will play a 4-4-3, and will have to play their starters both ways most of the time.

"It suits us with what we have on the roster," Turner said. "We're going to be a bend but don't break type of unit. We want to be aggressive; make the first contact instead of reacting."

At defensive tackle, Turner will go with Bustos and Joyner, while McGifford and Jones will be at the defensive ends. Yeater and deRubertis are the middle linebackers with Firestone and Austin Fletcher on the outside.

Baseball star Sam Hadley mans the safety spot, while Aguilera and Eddy Morales are at the corners.

Jorge Toledo and his brother, Oscar, provide depth on the defensive line, while Gomez and Turner could see action at linebacker. Luke Spencer is looking for time in the secondary.

Turner said he will find out in a hurry just how good his team is. Tonight's opponent is a perennial 2A powerhouse, while Truckee, the defending 3A state champs, is on Sept. 2.


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