Dayton seeks to end 17-game skid |

Dayton seeks to end 17-game skid

Emerson Marcus
For the Nevada Appeal
Dayton running back Ernie Rojas tries to avoid Fallon defenders on Friday.
Emerson Marcus/For The Appeal |

The Dust Devils’ 17-game losing streak dating back to 2014 is a “huge dark cloud” lingering over the town of Dayton, according to the team’s head coach and players.

Ending the losing streak Friday on Homecoming against winless Lowry High School (0-5, 0-5 in Northern 3A) would change the team’s psychology — none of Dayton’s 28 players have won a football game at the varsity level — and dissipate the dark cloud, Dayton head coach Patrick Squires said.

“(A win) would be huge,” Squires said of the Homecoming game set for kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday. “It would be a huge domino effect. It would take a huge dark cloud off of the town. We need something like this to get the whole school back excited.”

No Nevada high school football team struggled more in 2015 than Dayton, failing to score a single point the entire season until its final possession of the year at home against Fernley.

Last year’s team of mostly juniors returned, experiencing relatively mild success this year moving the ball out of the team’s spread offense, but Dayton remains winless (0-5, 0-5).

Heading into its Homecoming game, though, Dayton’s opponent has also struggled the past two years. Lowry’s only win in 2015 was a 40-0 home victory against Dayton. The Buckaroos are 1-15 since beating Spring Creek 26-22 on Oct. 24, 2014 — the same day Dayton began its losing streak with a 42-0 loss at Elko.

Given the circumstances, Dayton players and coaches have a slightly different mentality this week.

“That is the biggest thing on our mind right now,” senior running back Ernie Rojas said when asked about the losing streak. “This is our Homecoming. We all feel that it is very winnable if we give it our best. If we were to end the losing streak on Homecoming that would be an amazing thing for our team and Dayton.”

On Friday, Dayton will face two Lowry quarterbacks — senior Jed Teichert and junior Ren Mattson — sharing playing time in the team’s Wing-T shotgun formation. Additionally, Lowry’s defensive signal caller, linebacker Jacob Hernandez, also returns this week after a one-game suspension for multiple personal fouls two weeks ago, second-year Lowry head coach Taua Cabatbat said.

“We are preaching (to our team) that this team (Dayton) is hungry,” Cabatbat said. “Last year, we knew we had an advantage. This year we are trying to make sure we come out with the right mindset and not take this team for granted. (Dayton) is a whole different team this year. Even though they are struggling, I see potential. Overall, it’s a great matchup.”

Dayton Athletic Director Corey Sanford said events start with the bonfire tonight. On Friday, the girls’ soccer game is at 2 p.m. followed by the freshman football game at 4:30 and the Dayton Hall of Fame induction dinner in the lunchroom at 5.

“It’s the one game of the year where many people come home to watch a football game,” Squires said. “It’s very important we have a good showing. It’s our chance to show how far we’ve come from last year.”