Dayton football falls to Truckee
Appeal Sports Writer
DAYTON – The road to the Northern 3A playoffs just got a little tougher for the Dayton Dust Devils.
Dayton scored on its first possession, and then went scoreless the rest of the way in a 28-6 loss to perennial powerhouse Truckee Friday night.
The Dust Devils dropped to 4-3 overall, and play Sparks and Fernley to finish the regular season.
Dayton coach Rick Walker spent nearly all of his post-game chat pumping his players up, challenging them to play well over the final two weeks.
“I think we can get in if we win one,” Walker said. “We might have to win two. Right now, it’s up in the air.
“We suited up 20 kids. We just wore down. Truckee is a physical team. I thought the defense played pretty well.”
Truckee pounded away all night at the Dayton defense, rushing for 245 yards. Truckee didn’t complete a pass in nine attempts, but Keven Sahlberg was intercepted twice.
Conversely, Dayton’s offense struggled. The Dust Devils, despite an 89-yard effort by Trace Feemster, managed 63 yards unofficially, 61 of those on the ground. Feemster scored Dayton’s only TD on a 61-yard run. Dayton quarterbacks Ryan Ransdell and Cory Linberg were sacked four times for minus 38 yards and combined for 2 passing yards.
What makes it tough to swallow is that Dayton’s offense had good field position most of the night.
Trailing 8-6, Brandon Aguilera intercepted a pass at the Truckee 31. Dayton couldn’t even manage a first down before punting the ball away.
That was a microcosm of the game, as the Devils wasted several opportunities.
The Dust Devils started their next two possessions at midfield, and neither time was able to record a first down. The next possession was better, but just barely.
Dayton started at the Truckee 45, but Ransdell was sacked for a 15-yard loss by Ryan Mackin and Travis Dwyer. Feemster gained 21 down to the Truckee 39. Ransdell ran for a first down, but Dayton punted the ball away three plays later.
The only thing that was saving Dayton is that Truckee wasn’t exactly a ball of fire on offense.
Truckee made a big play early in the second quarter when Cruz Esquivel blocked an Anthony Onstott kick. The ball was finally covered at the Truckee 45.
Macken gained 11 on a third-and-7 play for a first down at the 41, and then gained five more to the 36, setting up Esquivel’s 36-yard scoring run for a 14-6 lead with 5:05 left in the first half.
Truckee was on the verge of scoring in the closing minute of the first half, but Aguilera intercepted a pass in the end zone that was intended for Ryan Roberts.
Another special teams gaffe cost Dayton in the third quarter.
Onstott picked up a bad snap and tried to run for a first down, but was stopped three yards short at his own 30.
Truckee scored three plays later, as Sahlberg scampered 16 yards on a keeper. Esquivel’s PAT made it 21-6 with 8:06 remaining.
That seemed to break Dayton’s spirit. The Devils didn’t get a first down the rest of the game.
“Special teams hurt us,” Walker said. “We had one ball blocked and we didn’t get one off and we dropped one.
“We didn’t take advantage of our field position, and when we had them backed up, we didn’t do anything with it.”