Fernley rolls past Dayton
Appeal sports writer
Fernley will be riding a wave of momentum heading into the 3A playoffs after grabbing the last spot in the north with a 50-14 win over Dayton Thursday. Dayton committed four turnovers and the Vaqueros capitalized, helping to seal the win.
The Fernley offense was able to rack up some good number against a normally stout Dayton defense. Fernley quarterback Bryce Baker completed 9 of 15 attempts for 150 yards and four scores while senior tailback Neil Kendricks rushed for 66 yards and another score.
Dayton opened the game with a surprise reverse on the kickoff that worked to perfection. Donny Parker took the kick at the 10 yard line and started to the right side. Brandon Aguilera took the hand-off and broke free up the left side-line. Aguilera ran through the kicker’s tackle to score. Aguilera’s kick was no good and Dayton led 6-0.
The Dust Devils bent but did not break on Fernley’s first possession. Kendricks got 26 yards early in the drive and Baker hit Brian Bradley to set up the Vaqueros with first and goal at the Dayton 10 yard-line. Three plays and five yards later, senior linebacker Justin Benitez tackled Kendricks for a five yard loss and Dayton took over on downs.
The luck would soon change, however, for coach Rick Walker’s team. Byron Trigueros fumbled at the Dayton 18 after getting hit on an end around. Fernley needed just three plays as Baker hit Ryan Jenkins for a score. With the 2-point conversion, Fernley led 8-6.
The Dust Devils struggled on offense throughout the rest of the game, but held Fernley in check until the Vaqueros opened up the playbook late in the second quarter and blew the game open. Baker hit Lehman for 38 yards and a score with 4:46 left in the half. Baker called his own number on the next Fernley possession and scrambled for 41 yards to set up an 18 yard scoring pass to Lehman, opening up a 22-6 halftime lead.
Dayton came out of the locker room strong after the half. After forcing a three and out from the Vaqueros, the Dust Devils put together an impressive drive. With an effective mix of passes and running plays Dayton was able to move downfield. Senior quarterback Cory Lindberg hit Anthony Onstott twice for 11 yards, Aguilera carried four times for 17 yards and Tannar Wood caught three passes for 22 yards and a touchdown on third-and-goal as Dayton pulled within two scores at 28-14.
Dayton looked to have the momnetum on its side, forcing another three and out from Fernley when Lady Luck reared up and bit the Devils again as Trace Feemster muffed the punt and Fernley took over at the Dayton nine yard line, scoring on the next play.
Fernley would score again in the fourth quarter when Baker hit Brian Bradley for a 19 yard score. Bobby Lindquist intercepted Lindberg and returned it 25 yards for the final score.
Dayton coach Rick Walker was disappointed, frustrated and proud of his squad all at the same time.
“Three turnovers, three scores,” he said. “What are you going to do? I thought our defense up front was awesome, the best its been all season. I’m really proud of those boys. We just couldn’t support them in the secondary. Third and long and they just dump it over the middle, how many times? We just can’t allow that. Offensively, we just couldn’t get in rhythm.”
Feemster gained 51 yards on 16 carries and Aguilera carried 6 times, gaining 29 yards and scoring on the kick return. Lindberg completed 7 of 23 passes for 46 yards, a touchdown, and three picks.
Onstott was injured late in the game on a helmet to helmet hit and was down for several minutes. He was able to leave the field under his own power but was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.