Fallon goes to the air to roll past Dayton
For the Nevada Appeal
DAYTON — Fallon continued its march through Division 1A play and handed Dayton yet another shutout loss, 52-0, in the Dust Devils Homecoming football game Friday.
Even a visit from former Wolf Pack baseball standout second baseman Matt Bowman — inducted in the Dayton Hall of Fame before the varsity game Friday — couldn’t turn the tide for a struggling Dayton squad that’s yet to score its first point five games into the season under first-year head coach Tom Eck.
As for Fallon (4-1, 4-0 in Division 1A), it’s as if nothing can go wrong, even after losing the team’s starting running back, senior Trae Workman, in week one.
“They (Dayton) were really stacking the box because of our running game and Cade (Vercellotti),” Fallon senior quarterback Connor Richardson said. “It was just a numbers game and we went to the pass and they couldn’t handle it.”
Fallon entered the half leading 45-0 and only scored one more touchdown as the entire second half included a running clock.
Richardson completed 13-of-16 passes in the first half for 173 yards and five passing touchdowns. He added a 10-yard rushing touchdown with 2 minutes, 40 second left in the first half for a total of six touchdowns in the game.
Vercellotti, who started the season as a slot receiver, transitioned well to running back, replacing Workman this season. He rushed for 78 yards on 12 carries in the first half.
Coincidentally, junior Brock Uptain started the season as Workman’s backup at running back, but has since moved to Vercellotti’s old position in the slot. On Friday, he was Richardson’s most active target, with eight catches and 106 yards heading into the break at halftime.
Fallon didn’t throw a pass in the second half.
“We have a lot of versatility,” Fallon head coach Brooke Hill said. “And those two kids are good athletic kids. Uptain is a good running back, too. Cade’s (Vercellotti) more of a pounder. He’s done a really nice job. Uptain is doing a good job catching the ball for us. It’s been nice. Hopefully we get Tray (Workman) back in the next few weeks (after knee surgery last week) and it can just add to us.”
As for Dayton, junior quarterback Blake Fletcher took the majority of snaps behind center with Tayton Watson sidelined for concussion protocol.
Fletcher struggled to get around the side fast enough to pitch the ball in Dayton’s triple-option offense. The Dust Devils finished the second half with negative-7 yards rushing before gaining 29 rushing yards in the second half.
“We had a significant drop in enthusiasm in this game,” Eck said. “They’re feeling it, too. Those guys like Blake (Fletcher), and Jason (Sandborn) and (Dylan) Torgerson, they all think it’s their fault, and I got to try to shine the focus on me. They rallied. Nobody quit. It’s going to come. I just got to coach a little harder.”
Dayton’s best scoring chance came when Fletcher converted on a fourth-and-five play into Fallon territory with a 7-yard pass to Torgerson. As the Dust Devils (0-5, 0-4) moved into Fallon territory for the first time with less than a minute left in the first half, Fletcher passed again, this time to Fallon defensive back Evan Bitter.
The Fallon senior returned the interception 66 yards for a touchdown.
Dayton had three first downs in the first half, each occurring on two possessions that both ended in turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, Dayton got as far as the Fallon 30 yard line, the closest it came to a score all night, but turned the ball over on downs.