Winless Dayton ends on high note
Special to the Appeal
FERNLEY — The Dayton High football team scored a season high 27 points at Fernley High Friday night, but the offensive outburst wasn’t enough to prevent the Dust Devils (0-9) from recording their second consecutive winless season. With its 47-27 loss to the Vaqueros, Dayton will now have to wait at least 10 months until next season to snap its lengthy losing streak of 21 games.
Dayton’s last win came on Oct. 17, 2014, when the Dust Devils outlasted Wooster High, 40-37. With two losses to close out the 2014 season, it’s been more than two years since Dayton scored a gridiron victory.
Despite the lopsided result, there were several reasons for optimism for the Dust Devils. Dayton scored 71 points this season versus just one lone touchdown in 2015 and its 27 points against the Vaqueros marked its season high by a wide margin. Its previous high was 10 versus Sparks High on Sept. 10 in a 20-10 loss.
The Dust Devils found themselves in a huge 20-0 deficit after allowing long touchdowns to Fernley on the Vaqueros’ first three plays from scrimmage, including a 73-yard bomb from quarterback Zach Burns to Ren Arroyo.
After Willy Pritchard upped Fernley’s lead to 34-0 on a 3-yard run with nine minutes remaining in the second quarter, Dayton settled down and put together a sustained drive that culminated with a C.J. Wilhite’s 8-yard touchdown run with 5:45 left in the half.
After another Pritchard short run for a touchdown made it 40-6, Dayton responded with another long drive that ended with a 1-yard dive by Wilhite.
The biggest play on the drive was a nice 15-yard pass play from Blake Fletcher to Wilhite after Fletcher eluded what seemed to be a certain sack. Wilhite also ran in the conversion to make it 40-14.
The Dayton defense stiffened in the second half and the Dust Devils outscored the Vaqueros, 13-6. After Burns gave the Vaqueros a 47-14 lead on a short keeper, Jesse Schmidt scored on a short 3-yard run for the Dust Devils to make it 47-20. A short run by Fletcher and extra point by Julian Gonzalez cut the Vaqueros’ lead to 47-27 with less than 2 minutes left to play, but that was as close as the Dust Devils could get before time ran out on another winless season.
Fernley (4-5) will open in the playoffs this Friday at South Tahoe.