The 2015 football season will go down as one to remember at Dayton High School, and not in a good way.
The Dust Devils went 0-10 and scored just one touchdown all year, that coming on their last drive of the season in a blowout loss to Fernley.
A coaching change was made, and former Fallon assistant Patrick Squires has taken over the program. He brings with him a wide-open offensive philosophy and a positive, up-beat attitude,
Bringing Dayton back to football prominence won’t be easy, and Squires knows that. Dayton’s last winning season came in 2009 when it went 6-4 under Rick Walker.
“I want the players to wipe away last year,” Squires said. “We have to focus on what we’re doing (now).”
Squires, like any other coach, believes you can learn from losses, but that just wasn’t the case last year. Squires didn’t watch film from last year, partly because he wanted all the players to have a fresh start and in part because he’s running a completely different offense.
The Dust Devils have lost a few players to academics, but the roster currently sits at 28, which is more players than last year.
Squires’ new motto is “All 48,” and it’s pretty self explanatory.
“We want to play all 48 minutes of the football game,” he said. “We can’t quit when things get tough and don’t go our way. (Bad) things are going to happen during a game, and we have to hang in there and keep working.”
Thus far, Squires likes what he’s seen.
“I’m very happy with our progress,” Squires said. “The kids were apprehensive at first; some of the returning players especially. The players have bought into what we’re doing and they are very enthusiastic.
“They have adjusted to the offense. Everybody likes change. When they (fans) see this offense in action, they will be excited. Every snap four to five players have a chance to be involved (catching a pass).”
When Dayton mixes it up tonight (6 p.m.) against Yerington in a scrimmage, seniors Dylan Torgerson and Blake Fletcher will be under center.
“They are both capable quarterbacks,” Squires said. “Dylan is a little ahead right now. Both have their strengths. Our quarterbacks will run and roll out depending on what the look is defensively.”
Sophomore Austin Lunz and junior Wesley Thompson are the tailbacks and junior C.J. Wilhite and Jason Sandborn are the fullbacks.
“Both (Lunz and Thompson) are pretty strong runners,” Squires said. “They need to work on their vision; seeing the cutback opportunities.”
Senior Jesse Schmidt, sophomore Justin Schmidt, senior Noah Gomes and senior Weston Hill make up the receiving corp. Senior Carson Crosby and Fletcher are the tight ends.
“Justin is very talented,” Squires said. “I’m looking forward to having him for three years. He will also be our No. 3 quarterback. Jesse is very solid and runs good routes.
“Our fullbacks are more slot backs. They will catch some balls, run the ball and block. All the skill players will be very involved in the offense.”
Troy Olsen starts at center flanked by guards Bryce Rose, a junior, and senior returnee Julian Gonzalez. The tackles are senior returnee Brandon Little and junior Lane Anderson. Nathan Poulter and David Hernandez are the top reserves.
“In this offense, I’m looking for a combination of things,” Squires said. “I like the guards to be quicker so they can pull and I want the tackles to be bigger to protect the quarterback. We are going to see a lot of strong and big defensive ends.”
Defensively, Dayton will employ a 4-4-3 defense.
“They seem to understand the concept,” Squires said. “We have a few quick corners.”
Senior Ernesto Rojas, Gomes, Hill and Justin Schmidt are the corners with senior Robert Cornwell starting at safety.
“Cornwell is coming around and playing pretty well,” Squires said.
Sandborn, Jesse Schmidt, Cody Stroud, Crosby, Fletcher and Lunz are among the linebackers vying for starting jobs.
Up front are Jaylen Towsley and Tyler Chandler, a junior and senior, respectively, at the end spots. Thompson and Hernandez are at the tackles.