Short-handed Dayton falls to Tahoe
SOUTH TAHOE — Dayton opened the scoring on Friday night at South Tahoe with a safety late in the first quarter — and then everything went South Tahoe’s way.
South Tahoe scored four touchdowns unanswered and rode the momentum of Homecoming to a 28-2 victory at Viking Stadium, its first of the 2014 season.
“We were up against a pretty big wall of adversity today without our starting quarterback and a few other kids missing — it was just too much to overcome,” Dayton head coach Rob Turner said.
Dayton (4-3, 3-3) got on the board first late in the opening quarter after the Vikings were forced to fall on a fumbled snap in their own end zone. The Dust Devils would hold that lead until the last minute of the second quarter, when South Tahoe (1-6, 1-5) scored its first points with a 2-yard touchdown run from quarterback Mason Cain on fourth-and-goal.
Cain’s fourth-down run put South Tahoe up 7-2 with 53.4 seconds left in the half — and 44 seconds later the Vikings found the end zone again to take a 14-2 lead before the break. Following the score, Dayton elected to go for it from its own 30-yard line — Skyler Bernston, who started at quarterback for the injured Davis Winebarger, was tackled for a 7-yard loss to give the ball back to the Vikings with 19.2 seconds left.
“We prepared well for them, but without our quarterback we’re a different team,” Turner said. “Putting Skyler at quarterback was the best move we could make, but losing him at tailback hurt us a lot.”
Following a pass interference penalty, Cain threw a strike to receiver Brandon Erickson for an 11-yard score to put South Tahoe ahead 12 points at halftime. The Vikings rode that momentum after the break, and caught a few breaks while rolling to their first victory of the year.
Dayton received the second half kickoff and was forced to punt after a three-and-out — the punt bounced off the head of a South Tahoe lineman and was returned for a score, but the Dust Devils’ touchdown was negated by a penalty for a player losing his helmet while the ball was in the air. Dayton unsuccessfully attempted a fake punt following the penalty, and South Tahoe took a 21-2 lead with a 5-yard run from Dylan Gardner three plays later.
For Dayton, running back Quinn Santana carried most of the load in the Dust Devils’ run-heavy attack. Santana finished with 180 yards on 26 carries as the team’s featured tailback.
Berntson went 1-of-7 passing for 13 yards and ran 13 times for 27 yards.