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Dayton looks to play spoiler

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

Two years ago, Dayton sent playoff-bound Fernley into the postseason with a loss.

Coach Rob Turner’s Dust Devils would like history to repeat itself when they travel to face the Vaqueros tonight at 7 in what is essentially a menaingless game for both teams. The game was moved up a day because Nevada Day is a state holiday.

Fernley (6-3, 6-2) has locked up the third seed, while Dayton (5-4, 4-4) is playing for pride after losing last week to Elko.

“We have had some pretty good practices this week,” Turner said Wednesday afternoon. “This is a rivalry game, so the kids are buying into that. It’s a game we like to play. It’s always an entertaining game. If we win it would mean a lot because we’d finish over .500 (6-4 overall and 5-4 league) for the season.

“Today is our last practice. There are times when the season drags, and then all of a sudden it’s the last game. I’d like to send them into the playoffs with a loss again.”

Dayton is expected to get a tough test from Fernley, which runs a veer option attack. Brian Reyes (899, 12 TDs), Kyle Thockmorton (545, 7 TDs) and quarterback Kyle Montgomery (377, 4 TDs) have all had success running the ball. It’s a tough offense to prepare for in a short week.

“We’ve been going over our assignments,” Turner said. “It is similar to the zone read option that Fallon runs. They wil run it out of a single-wing and double-wing look with a single back. I told the kids that they block it differently. but we had the same sort of assignments.

“Reyes is a stud and he’s fast. Montgomery can throw the ball. They don’t throw it a ton (94 times), but when they do throw he’s completed around 50 percent of the passes. He can also run.” Dayton will be without Quinn Santana, who suffered a season-ending injury two weeks ago. He ended the season with 568 yards and five scores.

The Dust Devils will rely heavily on running back Skyler Berntson, who has gained 1,098 yards and scored 12 TDs in seven games. Quarterback Davis Winebarger has completed 30 of 59 passes for 441 yards and five scores. His favorite receiver is Jaret Reed, who has 12 catches for 206 yards.