DAYTON — Dayton football coach Rob Turner will get a chance to see just how resilient his senior-laden team is.
The Dust Devils (4-1, 3-1), coming off a 62-7 loss to Fallon, entertain Lowry (4-1, 3-1) in their homecoming game tonight at 7.
“I think we’ve responded OK,” Turner said. “We’ve had a pretty good week of practice. We got a lesson in how to step up to the next level. We were embarrassed. It was a tough pill to swallow.
“Lowry is a tough team. They have been good ever since I’ve been here. Hopefully we’ve put some things together and found a way to stop them. They don’t seem to be too balanced. They run the ball well. They are doing what they do best,”
Lowry’s Beau Billingsley leads the ground attack with 580 yards and 11 scores. Donovan Brumm has complemented him with 459 yards with Thomas Swartz adding 227. Quarterback Christian Gray has completed 48 percent of his pases for 705 yards and five scores. His favorite receiver is back-up quarterback Garrett Naveran, who has 15 catches for 258 yards.
Dayton’s defense has forced 10 turnovers this year and just four turnovers. Quarterback Davis Winebarger has thrown just two interceptions in 29 attempts. Those numbers are a huge improvement. It also reflects the presence of Skyler Berntson and the improved running game.
Dayton’s offense gets a boost this week with the return of Berntson (812 yards), who injured his ankle early in the Truckee win and missed the Fallon game. His return gives Dayton a mental and physical boost.
“It’s huge,” Turner said. “We ended up beating Truckee without him for three quarters. I don’t know if he is 100 percent, but he looked good in practice on Wednesday. He helps us on both sides of the ball. He flies around out there. He has a good understanding of the game. It’s like having another coach on the field. Last week our volunteer coach didn’t travel, so he was up in the booth. We told him to watch for certain things and he did that. He sees things on the field (while he’s playing) and reports to us.”
Lowry has historically been a 4-4 team, but Turner said the Buckaroos will play some 3-4, too.
“They are tough up front,” Turner said. “They are hard to block and they stick to their assignments.”
Brumm and Billingsley are the top tacklers with 47 and 43, respectively. Naveran is next with 32 stops. Billingsley and Naveran have two sacks apiece.