Dust Devils are seeking first points of season
For the Nevada Appeal
It’s been a tough season for Dayton and Lowry as each squad seeks its first victory on the year at 7 p.m. today in Winnemucca.
For Dayton, the challenge is more than a first win — the Dust Devils (0-5, 0-4) still seek an elusive first point.
Injuries on the offensive line stunted the team’s transition into first-year coach Tom Eck’s triple-option offense. Getting around the corner for Dayton’s signal callers — holding the ball long enough to pitch to slotbacks and extend the play — has proven nearly impossible at times.
In the first half of last week’s blowout loss against Division 1A powerhouse Fallon, the Dust Devils entered the locker room with negative-7 rushing yards and down 45-0.
“We need more depth (on the offensive line),” junior running back Dylan Torgerson said after last week’s loss. “If we got more depth at line, and get (senior) Colton (Cabral) back, that changes things. We need them out there.”
Coaches limited Cabral’s play last week in his return from injury, but he’s expected to return to full action this week, Eck said.
Additionally, for the first time since the season opener, Dayton has all its skill position players — quarterback, running back and receivers — healthy for the entire week after quarterback Tayton Watson was cleared through concussion protocol.
As for remaining injuries, Jeremiah Sermeno, Dayton’s senior guard, will remain out a few more weeks with a leg injury, Eck said.
Schematically, Dayton is exploring different offensive tactics as teams increasingly load the box and stop the Dust Devil running game.
“I think we should change it up a little bit,” Torgerson said of the team’s strategy. “But that’s up to coaches. That’s none of my business.”
“We added a couple formations last week against Fallon,” Eck said. “We’re starting to slowly but surely move chess pieces around. If we could get to the pitch on a regular basis, we will be able to get to where we want to be.”
Eck plans to be with the team on the drive to Winnemucca for tonight’s game, but he may drive separately from Santa Barbara, Calif., as his wife, Jill Eck, recovers at a hospital there following reconstructive back surgery.
Surgery was successful, Eck said.
“She means a bunch to us,” Torgerson said. “We all call her momma coach because she has done so much for us… She always takes care of us and feeds on Thursdays before game days. She is a tough woman.”
Even in the moments before her surgery Wednesday, Jill Eck was working as “momma coach.”
Admittedly more technologically savvy than her husband, she organizes film of opponent offensive and defensive plays in the online high school football program, Hudl, for the coaching staff.
As Eck sat in the waiting room, he turned on his iPad and noticed his wife had organized video of the offensive and defensive plays of Dayton’s opponent this week, Lowry (0-4, 0-4), so her husband could start scouting for today’s game while sitting in the hospital waiting room.
“She broke scout film down and had notes ready for me,” Eck said of his wife. “She knew exactly what I was going to do — turn to football during crisis. I love her to death.”