LOVELOCK — The Dayton Dust Devils are an inexperienced team, and they played like it Friday night.
The Dust Devils, in their first game under new head coach Tom Eck, struggled on both sides of the ball in a 38-0 loss to Division III powerhouse Lovelock at Joe Yanni Field.
Lovelock’s offense, which produced four straight first-half scores, finished with 340 yards of total offense compared to 131 for Dayton. The Dust Devils had two interceptions, one of which led to a score, and a special teams gaffe which led to another score.
“It was a tough one,” said Eck shortly after talking with his team. “We just have to keep working at it. We definitely have to clean up some things on the offensive line. I can’t wait to see the film.
“Every time we made a mistake they capitalized. Obviously we have to work at it (flex-bone offense). We got better as the game went along. It was the first time we went full speed (against somebody besides ourselves).”
What’s scary about Eck’s comments is the offensive line is where Dayton has the most returnees yet it was no match for Lovelock’s aggressiveness and quickness. Dayton managed just six first downs and was in Lovelock territory five different times.
The closest Dayton came to scoring was the fourth quarter, but Tayton Watson had his pass near the goal line picked off by Ethan Rhodes. That interception wiped out Dayton’s best drive of the night, one which covered 82 yards. The big play was a 43-yard pass to Mikey Aguilar.
The Dayton defense had no answer for Lovelock QB Angel Ramirez, who passed for 113 yards and a score, and ran for 117 and a score. He showed a strong arm and was as elusive as a jackrabbit.
The Mustangs had scoring drives of 79, 62, 49, 51 and 35 yards, respectively. The Mustangs hurt themselves with 11 penalties for 80 yards. Most of the infractions were for false starts.
Three of them came on the first three snaps of the game. That drive ended without a first down when Aguilar intercepted a Ramirez pass at midfield. The Dust Devils were unable to capitalize on the interception.
A 34-yard run by Ramirez to start the Mustangs’ second possession led to the first of three TDs by Marcus Nester, this one from the 1. Nester also caught the 2-point conversion pass. Nester had runs of 1, 1 and 10 yards, respectively.
After Dayton punted on its next possession, the Mustangs again shook off three straight penalties to put together a 62-yard scoring drive. Nester scored again from the 1, and Ramirez’s 2-point PAT pass made it 16-0 early in the second quarter.
Ramirez threw a 26-yard pass to William Gattrell and then closed out the first-half scoring with a 44-yard scoring run to make it 32-0.
“It was a pretty good start except for that first series,” Loveock coach Dave McLean said. “I thought we played very well up front tonight (on both sides of the ball).”
Stopping Dayton wasn’t really a mystery for the Mustangs, and McLean explained why.
“We ran the flex bone last year,” McLean said. “We know how to prepare for it. We understand the defensive facets of it. They (Dayton) will get better as the season goes along.”
NOTES: The win by Lovelock avenged last year’s season-opening win by the Dust Devils … The game was played with a running clock for the final nine minutes … Jason Sandborn was taken off the field via ambulance with a leg injury. Early indication, according to the Dayton sideline, was a torn hamstring … Dayton opens Division 1-A play next Friday night against Sparks.