RENO - It only took 20 seconds for Bishop Manogue High School to get into the end zone against Dayton Friday afternoon. Then Manogue's tenacious defense proceeded to dominate the next 47 minutes, 40 seconds as the Miners coasted to a 42-0 regular season ending victory against Dayton.
Chris Butler caught a 49-yard pass from Pat Reilly on the first play from scrimmage to give Manogue a lead it never relinquished en route to a win that clinched the 3A Division II championship and capped off a perfect 9-0 regular season.
The story of the game, however, was a defensive unit that held Dayton to minus-15 yards rushing in the first half and zero yards for the game. Dayton gained 45 yards passing, although not without having four balls intercepted by the Miners.
For the Dust Devils, who were in position to create a three-way tie for first-place in the division with a win, it was a disappointing end to the season. However, it wasn't a disappointing season for the Dust Devils, who finished third in the division with a 4-2 record (4-5 overall), and only missed a trip to the state 3A playoffs by a 22-21 loss to Pershing County Sept. 17 in Lovelock.
"We had some big wins and we had some disappointing losses, but at least the football program at Dayton High School has made a move in the 3A," assistant coach Shannon Wines said. "An alumnus, one of my former players, just came up to me and said he had been waiting for Dayton to play in a big game like this for years. It was good to hear that."
It's just that on this day, the Dust Devils weren't able to match up with undefeated Manogue.
"They're not 9-0 and rated No. 1 in the state (3A) for nothing," Wines said.
First-year Manogue head coach Bill Branca was pleased with the defensive performance. He felt it was even better than the previous week's 48-14 win against Pershing County.
"Last week I kind of challenged them and I didn't think they played up to their potential," Branca said. "I was on them all this week and they really rallied. They really came together today."
Justyn Midanik returned the opening kickoff 45 yards to set up Reilly's touchdown pass to Butler on a short sideline route.
The Miners converted an interception into a 76-yard, seven-play drive for their next touchdown, which came on Midanik's 16-yard run early in the second period. Manogue's other scores came on drives of 55, 67, 40 and 49 yards on a day when Dayton's defense played better than the final score showed.
"Our defense did all right in the first half," Wines said. "The only problem was that they were on the field too much of the time."
Late in the first quarter, for example, Chris Viscarret came up with a stop on a fourth-and-5 play to end a threat at the 31.
The Dust Devils got a break early in the third quarter when safety Adam Sayre forced a fumble that was recovered by Jesse Cox. Linebacker Clayton Friskey also had a sack and one other tackle behind the line of scrimmage, while weakside linebacker Mike Sampang had one tackle for negative yardage.
For Manogue, Reilly threw for 216 yards, including two touchdown passes to Butler. And Toby Gansert, a 5-foot-34, 125-pound sophomore, rushed for 108 yards on 20 carries and surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau for the season.
One statistical blemish for the Miners came from yellow flags, as they had 130 yards marched off on 13 penalties.
Manogue is bidding for its first perfect season since winning the 2A state championship with a 10-0 record in 1979. The Miners are now three playoff wins away from that goal.
"It's a brand new season. We're playing one-game seasons from this point on," Branca said. "I don't think these kids will feel they've accomplished anything until they get to state."