Dayton High football coach upbeat about squad
DAYTON — Pat Squires is starting his second season as Dayton High’s football coach, and he’s as upbeat as ever.
The Dust Devils, who open at home against Lincoln County on Aug. 25, finished up their third day of practice in helmets, and are expected to be in full gear today.
Because of construction at schools throughout Lyon County, Dayton won’t start school until Aug. 31, and that has given Squires more time to work with his 29-member team.
Squires’ team posted an 0-9 record and averaged less than 10 points a game. Squires remains optimistic that better times are ahead for the Dust Devils.
“We’re trying to have a family environment, and everybody has jumped on the bandwagon,” he said. “I can’t go to Smith’s or Taco Bell without somebody recognizing me and asking me about the team.
“We are 500 percent ahead of where we were at this time last year. We were competitive in some games last year and we weren’t in others.”
The big reason for Squires’ optimism is the Dust Devils’ showing at the South Tahoe camp (July 10-13). The event had about a dozen schools. California schools were unable to have full-contact work, but Nevada and Idaho schools were allowed to hit.
And, the trip was good for team chemistry, according to Squires.
“It’s the first time Dayton had gone to a camp in five or six years (and maybe longer),” Squires said. “It was a chance to see what we had. It was good for the kids. We went 11-on-11 without pads against California schools, and we had full contact with schools from Nevada and Idaho.
“Some teams camped. We all spent the nights together in a big utility room on the South Tahoe High campus, sleeping in either cots or sleeping bags. We spent 14 to 16 hours a day together. It was good for team bonding; good for kids to learn about and trust each other.”
The trip did have an interesting moment, according to the DHS coach.
“We were evacuated on Tuesday night,” Squires said. “A bear came down out of the woods to see what was going on.”
Squires did say he has a couple of transfers this year, both linemen, but doesn’t know much about them.
“One kid is from the L.A. area and the other kid is from Carson City,” Squires said. “They just showed up. I don’t know hardly anything about them.”
Eleven returnees are back based on last year’s roster, including Justin Schmidt, who’s listed as a cornerback and strong safety.
Once again, Dayton will field just a freshman team and a varsity team.
Squires said three other schools — Truckee, Sparks and South Tahoe — have followed his lead. He said those schools will play freshman-varsity doubleheaders, and schools with JV teams will play those games on Thursdays.
Squires has added a couple of new coaches to the football staff. Anthony LaRocca will work with the freshman team, and Terrence Spann will be the new linebacker coach for the varsity.
“He (Spann) coached for a couple of years in the Wooster program,” Squires said. “He moved into Dayton and was with our youth football program, and I scooped him up.”