Dayton wins first of season against Whittell |

Dayton wins first of season against Whittell

Joe Ellison

From the opening kickoff, Dayton High played like a team possessed, earning its first victory this season with a 35-12 win over visiting Whittell in a Northern 3A Division II football game on Friday night.

“We knocked people around all game,” Dayton coach Butch Cattanach said. “We dominated on both sides of the ball.”

It didn’t take the Dust Devils (1-3, 1-1 Division II) long to get on the scoreboard. After a 43-yard screen pass from Adam Sayre to Anthony Martinez on their opening possession, a 16-yard touchdown pass from Sayre to Greg Hollis made it 6-0.

An opportunistic Gary Sawyer intercepted a tipped Trent Gordon pass on Whittell’s next possession and dashed 37 yards for another score to make it 12-0, and Dayton went to the locker room ahead by that score.

By then, though, Whittell was already in deep trouble. A shoulder injury to Gordon in the second quarter hurt the Warriors’ chances of earning a victory.

“Our lineup is so thin – if our quarterback gets hurt, we have to juggle things around,” Whittell coach John Summers said. “We had one kid play five different positions tonight.”

Still, the Warriors continued to fight. Shane Van Zant, who rushed for 161 yards, had a 3-yard touchdown that increased Dayton’s lead to 19-0, but then Whittell came to life. Backup quarterback Luke Forvilly ran around right end for 73 yards to put the Warriors on the board, and early in the fourth quarter Matt Lincoln returned a blocked punt 18 yards for a score that cut the lead to 19-12.

But that was the end of the rally. Whittell’s next possession stalled deep in their own territory, and a bad snap on the punt led to a Dayton fumble recovery in the end zone by lineman Gilberto Jiminez.

A 3-yard touchdown run by Ryan Smith with 4:44 remaining was icing on the cake for Dayton.

Cattanach said Dayton’s defense was just as responsible for the win as the offense.

“(Linebacker) Clayton Friskey stuffed them play after play,” he said. “He must have had 20 tackles.”

Friskey credited his teammates.

“Our guys up front dominated, which opened up a lot of plays for me,” he said. “We were all just fired up and upset about last week’s overtime loss (a 22-21 setback at Lovelock.)”

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