Dust Devils face first big test of season
Dayton coach Rob Turner admitted when he looked at this year’s schedule last spring, he thought his team could win its first four games.
And, four weeks into the 2014 season, the senior-laden Dust Devils (4-0, 3-0) are one of five undefeated teams in northern Nevada.
“We just had to do it,” said Turner, whose club travels to Fallon for a battle against the Greenwave (3-1, 3-0) tonight at 7. “It sounds pretty cool (when you say one of five undefeated teams). It feels great. It is the kids’ deal, and I’m happy for them. They have worked so hard.”
Tonight starts the tough portion of Dayton’s schedule with Fallon, Lowry (at home next week) and South Tahoe (road game on Oct. 10). Still on the horizon is Elko.
“They (Fallon) have 48 kids and we have 28,” Turner said. “It’s a different world there. They pass the ball well, run the ball well and tackle well. They are a really good team.”
The biggest question mark for Dayton is the health of Skyler Berntson, who injured his ankle last week in the win over Truckee. He was on pace to become Dayton’s all-time rushing leader, but he has to make up some ground the rest of the season. He has 370 rushing yards and an average of 9.3 per carry.
“He is day-to-day,” Turner said. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see him play, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him sit this one out.
“We have adjusted some things offensively at practice this week; put in a few more plays. We’re going to have to block a little better up front to open holes for little John (Aguilar, 120-pounder) and Quinn (Santana, fullback). We’ve also been working on our passing game a little bit.”
Turner’s defense will get a stiff test, as Fallon averages more than 350 yards a contest, the bulk of it on the ground. Nathan Heck has rushed for 458 yards and five scores, while Charles Fulks has 287 rushing yards and two scores. Trae Workman has 110 yards and two scores. Quarterback Joe Pyle has completed 27 of 56 passes for 359 yards and six scores, four of them to Connor Richardson, who has nine receptions for 101 yards. Dylan Jabines has eight grabs for 108 yards.
“Joe Pyle is a tough kid, and he can hurt you with his feet and arm,” Turner said. “Nathan Heck is a good athlete. Lineman Justin Hatfield is a big, strong player who we have to account for.
“They mix it up offensively. They like to zone block and use straight ahead power blocking. We have to pinch against their zone blocking. There is a difference between saying and doing (it) is two different things.”
NOTES: This is Fallon’s homecoming game … Dayton will be without Adam Smith (concussion). He returned to action last week after missing the first three week of the season, and suffered an injury. Turner believes he will be out for the rest of the season … After the Dayton game, Fallon faces Elko and then it’s easy sledding until the season finale against Lowry.