Historic win for Dayton | NevadaAppeal.com

Historic win for Dayton

DAYTON – Dayton High celebrated homecoming and Senior Night with its biggest win in the school’s 23-year history, a 63-7 thumping of Sparks in a Northern

Nevada 3A football game Friday night.

The win was Dayton’s fifth of the season and means that the Dust Devils will enjoy their first winning season ever regardless of how next week’s game against

Fernley turns out, though Dayton should be favored to beat its Lyon County rivals.

“I’m so glad for these kids,” Dayton coach Rick Walker said as the final seconds clicked down. “They have worked their rears off this year. I’m so proud for them. I knew they could do it. We were shooting for a home playoff game, but that’s probably not going to work out.”

“It’s incredible,” running back-defensive back Zane Walker said. “We’ve talked about it at school. As seniors (Dayton has nine), we expected it. We told ourselves what we needed to do.”

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Zane Walker knows it’s not over. He and the Dust Devils would like nothing more than to win three more games and grab a state title, and if they play like they did on Friday, getting to the state semifinals is a reality.

Dayton scored on nine of its 10 possessions. It could have been 10-for-10, but the Dust Devils, after taking over at the Sparks 26 with 7:46 left, basically sat on

the ball and had the second string in the contest.

“Tonight, the lines on both sides of the ball dominated,” coach Walker said. “We scored on nearly every (full) series. Travis Wood (7-for-9, 158 yards, 4 TDs) threw the ball great. I thought he forced it one time, but we have to step back and remember that he’s only a sophomore. We threw the ball great and ran the ball well.”

Dayton rolled up 363 yards total offense – 205 on the ground and 158 in the air. The defense, led by Ray Vela, Scott Brower and Andy Salazar, was just as effective, allowing 159 yards. Nearly half of those (75) came on Sparks’ last offensive series that ended in a touchdown with 1:11 left in the contest.

The Dust Devils started their first eight scoring drives in Sparks territory, making it a pretty easy night for the offensive unit.

Travis Wood threw a 10-yard pass down to the Sparks 33 on the second play from scrimmage. After two short gains by Zane Walker (10 carries, 74 yards), Wood

threw in the right flat to Danny Hopper, who caught the ball at about the 15, shook off a tackle and scored. A bad snap forced Dayton to try for two points and Travis Wood found Erik Hooper in the end zone to make it 8-0 with 8:25 left.

Sparks managed one first down on its next possession, and a 23-yard return gave the Dust Devils great field position at the Sparks 45.

Dayton was in the end zone nine plays and one Sparks penalty later, as Travis Wood found his older brother, Trent, with a 14-yard scoring toss with 56 seconds left in the quarter. Trent Wood’s PAT made it 15-0. The key plays in the drive were an 11-yard scramble by Travis Wood on a third-and-12 play from the Sparks 47 and a 14-yard pass from Travis Wood to Danny Hopper on a third-and-8 play from the Sparks 29.

A 22-yard punt enabled Dayton to set up shop at the Sparks 42, and two plays later, Travis Wood found Josh Aaker for a 41-yard score. Trent Wood’s kick made it 22-0.

After Sparks went three-and-out again, Dayton put together a 46-yard scoring march. Travis Wood capped the drive with a 30-yard screen pass to Zane Walker, who outraced the Sparks defense down the right sideline into the end zone. Wood’s kick made it 29-0 with 6:50 left in the half.

That was more than enough, but Walker scored two more times on touchdown runs, Bubba May added a 44-yard TD run, Danny Hopper added a 27-yard run and Travis Tapp added a 1-yard run.

Darrell Moody can be reached at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281.