If you read Friday’s Nevada Appeal, you no doubt know Dayton is staying in Division 1A (soon to be called 3A again) for at least the next two seasons.
It’s a horrible situation, especially in football, and it’s one that needs to be rectified sooner rather than later. I think the Northern 3A made a mistake not letting Dayton move down. The Dust Devils and Truckee are the smallest schools in the current 1A, and the schools are smaller to the tune of at least 200 to 300 students. That’s a pretty big gap.
Since 2004, the Dust Devils are a combined 57-65 at the varsity football level. The team has had just four winning seasons in that span — 6-5 in 2004, 6-5 in 2005, 10-1 in 2006 and 6-4 in 2009. In that span, Dayton is 4-3 against Lovelock, according to MaxPreps, 2-0 against Battle Mountain (14-12 and 12-6 wins) and 2-0 versus Yerington. Dayton hasn’t fielded a freshman team for at least eight years, and that’s crippling to a program.
Several times this year Dayton suited up less than 24 players for a varsity game, and Dayton athletic director Cory Sanford said injuries forced the Dust Devils to cancel three junior varsity games.
Dayton should have attempted to go independent in football when it had the opportunity. According to a coach on campus, the parents were up in arms about that prospect because it meant no playoffs as an independent team.
To go from 0-10 with just one TD to a playoff team in a two-year span would be next to impossible. Simply put, the parents need a harsh dose of reality when it comes to the ability of their kids.
I think many people forget any move up or down is done for just two years and re-evaluated.
Things are just as bad in other sports.
The girls basketball program is 66-138 since 2006. Its only winning season came in 2005 when Shari Andreasen coached the Dust Devils to a 20-5 mark. Since 2006 Dayton has had just three double-digit win seasons. Unofficially, because some seasons were incomplete on MaxPreps, Dayton is 0-11 versus Lovelock, 5-7 against Yerington and 6-2 vs. Incline.
On the boys side, Dayton is 141-116 in the last 10 years, but are 33-51 in the last four seasons. In that span, Dayton is 9-2 against Silver Stage, 4-4 against ROP, 4-5 against Lovelock and 5-7 against Yerington.
Dayton failed to have enough interest to field either a boys or girls freshman team. That’s hard to believe you couldn’t find 20 freshmen boys and girls to play basketball.
My first thought is to ask Dayton to play independent football for two years and let it go down in other sports. Many of the smaller schools currently in Northern 3A said they were worried about the safety issue with regards to football. There shouldn’t be any safety concerns in baseball, basketball, cross country, wrestling, track and golf.
There’s precedent for going down in individual sports. Wooster is playing down in football and up in the other sports even though it isn’t competitive in anything. We all know Wooster should be 1A in everything.
As far as football goes, there needs to be five divisions, even if it means two of the leagues have just six teams. Dayton is too small to compete with most of its 1A rivals in most all sports, but especially football.
Dayton, the town and school, needs to share some of the blame. The feeder system into the high school isn’t good, and a good high school team is only as good as its feeder system. The youth programs need to provide better coaches, and when kids get to be 12 through 14, those teams should be running the same type of offense and defense the high school runs. It makes for smoother transition.
The high school, when it has a teaching opening, needs to start looking at getting teachers who can coach on campus, and the district people should adopt that philosophy.
Maybe the NIAA needs to talk to Jim Crichlow, who’s commissioner of the Central Section of the California CIF. The way it’s done down there is teams are put in divisions based on competitive equity, and then moved up or down based on the same criteria. Down there, wins and losses mean more than sheer numbers.
It probably wouldn’t work in Nevada because of Southern Nevada which seems to have its own set of rules for how the leagues are aligned.