Dayton High hoping to move down to 2A

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Dayton High has applied for and been granted time to speak with the NIAA in the hopes of being able to move down to 2A status in all sports.

The meeting is scheduled for June 13 at Wooster High School, according to Dayton High football coach Pat Squires, who initiated the action with the Dayton administration. Squires said outgoing athletic director Cory Sanford and principal Steve Henderson signed off on the letter needed to start the ball rolling.

Squires said he has support of the boys basketball coach Jason Santos, girls basketball coach Kelly Frantz and girls soccer coach Jared Miklich as well as boys soccer coach Luis Melgarejo.

From a win-loss point of view, the move makes sense, especially for Dayton football. The Dust Devils are 1-28 the last three years.

In 2015, the Dust Devils went 0-10 and were outscored 510-6, and that score came in the final game of the season. In 2016, Squires’ first season, Dayton went 0-9 and was outscored 574-61. In 2017, Dayton went 1-9, and was outscored 418-93. The only win came against 2A Lincoln County, and that game was decided by less than seven points.

Squires said his teams have suffered through eight concussions in the past two seasons, and he’s had to endure several other season-ending or multi-week injuries which you can’t have with a roster that has been less than 30 on a regular basis.

“If that isn’t enough to sway anybody, I don’t know what is,” Squires said. “There were games that I was afraid to open the door and go onto the field because I knew somebody was going to get hurt.

“I was on the other end of it at Fallon when I was JV coach. I never played my starters (much) against Dayton; didn’t have to.”

Squires dropped the JV program in favor of a freshman program, so for at least a year, freshmen could play against kids their own age. The problem with that is sophomores are forced to play varsity, and usually they are not physically ready.

Squires said he will have just seven seniors on the team next year, and many underclassmen aren’t coming out because they don’t want to play varsity football. The numbers have never been good at Dayton, and despite 640 students, the Dust Devils haven’t fielded three football teams in a long time.

Squires pointed out that Dayton is 1-3 against 2A teams in recent years, having lost three straight to Lovelock. Dayton has played Lovelock more than any other 2A school in recent history, and the Dust Devils have had mixed results. In 2009, Dayton edged Battle Mountain 12-6.

The move down would really benefit girls basketball team which has won just six games the last two seasons. Dayton lost by 51 once last year, by 40-plus three times and by 30 seven times. The average margin of victory was 28 points. Dayton, according to MaxPreps, is 13-90 in the last four years.

Dayton went 0-2 against Hawthorne last season, lost to Lovelock and Yerington, and also dropped games to Eureka and Virginia City. The last time Dayton really competed in girls basketball was when Shari Andreasen was a 20-game winner in 2007-08.

“I’m excited at the possibility of moving to 2A,” DHS girls coach Kelly Frantz said. “Many schools have moved in and out of 3A, but Dayton and Fernley are the only two teams (that have been in 3A) all the time in the last 12 years. Playing for Dayton High when it was a successful program is the reason I coach now. My intent is to bring the program respect.

“Success also breeds success. It would be a great opportunity for us to move to a division where we could be more competitive and develop confidence in our players and program. Why not give Dayton a chance to build stronger sports programs for student athletes who want to be involved?”

Veteran basketball coach Santos said he’s been in favor of the move for several years.

“Numbers wise we have a real hard time,” Santos said. “We struggle to fill our roster every year. We carried 11 on varsity and 12 on JV. We didn’t cut anybody. We won’t have enough for three teams (next year). Elko has 30 try out for each of their teams. I think it would be good for the school. It would give us a chance to compete.”

Santos’ team went 10-12 last year, and those 12 losses were by an average of18 points. Four of the losses were over 20 points, and twice the Dust Devils lost by more than 30. Dayton beat Lovelock by six points last year and lost by three to Yerington.


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