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Smith is tall target at tight end

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

Dusty Smith isn’t the most talkative guy on the planet, and when he’s on the football field he prefers to let his play do the talking for him.

And, last Friday against Lovelock, Smith’s performance spoke volumes as he scored on a career-best three touchdown receptions from quarterback Kage Walker in the 36-32 nonleague victory.

The Dust Devils hope Smith can repeat that performance today when Dayton visits defending state champion Truckee in the Northern 3A opener (1 p.m.) for both schools.

“We’re excited,” Smith said. “I think the game will be a good one. We need to keep our intensity up and match theirs.”

Dayton coach Rick Walker said the 6-foot-2 Smith used his height to go up and over smaller Lovelock defenders to get key receptions. He also can get downfield as evidenced by his 10.79 yards per catch average a year ago.

“He’s a lot more aggressive this year,” Walker said. “He’s worked hard on his strength and his downfield blocking has really improved. He’s definitely more confident.”

And, Smith said he’s happy whenever he’s on the field. He grew up in Kentucky playing football, and it remained his favorite sport when he moved to Nevada in the eighth grade. He loves the physicalness of the game and he loves the Pistol offense that coach Walker started a couple of years ago.

“I like being out there,” Smith said. “It makes me happy. It (tight end) is a good spot to play. It’s always been my position. I like the contact; being able to hit somebody without getting into trouble.

“He (Kage Walker) sees the field really well and he makes the right decision on where to go with the ball.”

Smith’s contributions, surprisingly enough, have been limited to just one side of the ball thus far. It’s interesting when you consider the small roster Dayton has this year.

“I’m just not a defensive guy,” Smith said. “I used to play defense when I was younger, but since I got into high school it’s been all offense.”

And, after Smith leaves Dayton High in June, it will be all academics.

Unlike many of his teammates who will matriculate to two-year and four-year colleges, Smith has opted to attend the Commercial Diving Academy trade school in Florida to learn how to become an underwater welder where he’ll learn to work on boats, ships, carriers and even docks.

“My father is an underwater welder,” said Smith, who loves swimming and being in the water. “There is a high demand for underwater welders. I’ve been scuba diving, but haven’t done as much as I need to do to get prepared.”

DAYTON (1-0) AT TRUCKEE

When: 1 p.m. today

Where: Truckee High School

Last meeting: Truckee 67, Dayton 0 (3A playoffs in 2009)

Coaches: Rick Walker (Dayton); Bob Shaffer (Truckee)

Walker says: “We have to match their intensity, or they’re going to roll us. Our kids have to decide if they want to be the hitter or hittee. We have to be physicals.”