3A Football Notebook

Dayton High School football has never been to the playoffs, let alone win a championship.

Well, the Dust Devils are taking a shot at both of those possibilities Friday afternoon when they visit Bishop Manogue for a 3A Division II showdown in Reno.

The game kicks off at 2 p.m.

Manogue is undefeated - 5-0 in division, 8-0 overall - after dispatching Pershing County this past Saturday 48-14.

Dayton is tied for second-place with Pershing County at 4-1 after stretching its division win streak to four games with a 33-14 win at Yerington last Friday.

If Dayton wins, the race would be thrown into a three-way tie for first-place - the tie-breaking being point differential in games between the teams involved.

Two teams from Division II advance into the state 3A playoffs.

When Shane Van Zant rambled for 197 yards on 20 carries last Friday, he became Dayton's third 1,000-yard rusher in the last three seasons. Trent Stransky became the first in school history in 1997 and Justin Cooper matched the feat in 1998 with a school record total of 1,152 yards.

DIVISION I playoff

picture almost clear

Two of the three playoff berths from Division I have already been settled. Tahoe-Truckee (4-0) has first-place wrapped up coming into its game at Spring Creek. And North Tahoe (3-1) is assured of a playoff spot coming into its game at Battle Mountain. Battle Mountain can still grab the No. 2 seed by beating North Tahoe.

What if Battle Mountain and Spring Creek tie for third? Battle Mountain goes to the playoffs by virtue of its seven-point victory over Spring Creek. There is a possibility of Battle Mountain, Spring Creek and Rite of Passage tying for third - in which case Spring Creek advances on the NIAA's 13-point tie-breaker plan.

Rite of Passage is 1-3 after routing Battle Mountain 60-14 behind Broderick Deed's 211 yards rushing and three-touchdowns this past Saturday.

small package in

lovelock is dynamite

Pershing County's Benji Robles experienced a bitter conclusion to his junior season in 1998 after he chipped a bone in his elbow in week two. He has returned with a vengeance this fall, however.

Even though the Mustangs from Lovelock lost on Saturday, Robles still stands as a legitimate 3A Division II MVP candidate.

The 5-foot-6, 170-pound tailback made a good case for himself two weeks ago when he rushed for 265 yards and four touchdowns as the Mustangs from Lovelock galloped to a 36-14 win to spoil Yerington's homecoming.

"I was impressed with Robles," Yerington coach Eric Bobrick said. "I thought we would do a little better than we did, but he's a good, hard runner who runs low. It's hard to hit a bowling ball that's going 190 miles per hour."

Robles, who has now rushed for 1,221 yards and scored 58 points, and he is one of the primary reasons the Mustangs are bidding for another trip to the playoffs.

"He's a good back, one of the best in the state," Pershing County coach Joe Yanni said of Robles.

Last year's injury helped Robles prepare for this fall.

"Last year was kind of sad," he said. "It helped motivate me during the offseason. I wanted to come back and have a big senior year."

Yanni believes Robles has the ability to play beyond high school.

"He benches 300 pounds and he squats over 600," Yanni said. "It's a little body but he's quite a package."


Life doesn't always turn out as planned, but some times it turns out well enough. A case in point was a recollection of Chris Askins at the Yerington Football Hall of Fame Induction two weeks ago.

"My dream had always been to be a running back. I had my mind on being the next Chuck Foreman of the Minnesota Vikings, my idol as a kid. I dreamed of wearing No. 44 as a Lion and scoring touchdown after touchdown," recalled Askins, one of six Hall of Fame inductees. "My bubble burst the first day of J.V. practice. When the coaches had the players line up by position and I saw who was in the running back group, I suddenly realized that I wasn't going to have a chance. I vividly remember sadly hesitating before slowly trotting over to the linemen group with Mr. (John) Dibble.

"I realize now that that was probably the smartest decision I ever made in my football career. As time went on, especially now that I've coached football for a number of years, I learned that without the five guys up front doing their job, you don't win."

Askins played for Yerington's last state championship team in 1982 and went on to become a two-time all-conference and first-team all-state lineman. After graduating, Askins returned to help the Lions as an assistant coach.


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