RENO - Spurred on by a three-headed attack, the Dayton High School football team rushed for 319 yards as a team en route to its season-opening 40-14 victory against Damonte Ranch on Friday night.
Kevin May rushed for 115 yards on just seven carries, Zane Walker gained 110 yards on 12 carries and sophomore Erik Hopper tacked on 75 yards on five carries to lead the way as the Dust Devils spoiled the debut of Damonte Ranch varsity football.
"Being able to run the ball like that was huge," Dayton coach Rick Walker said. "The guys up front did a great job of blocking and the backs all ran real hard.
"I knew Zane was going to be there, but it was a pleasant surprise to see little Hopper and our two fullbacks, Kevin May and Scott Brower step up like they did."
Hopper scored on a 13-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Travis Wood in the second quarter and broke a 40-yard touchdown run on Dayton's fourth play of the second half. Walker had a 45-yard touchdown run, Brower scored on a 2-yard run on the final play of the third quarter and May capped off Dayton's scoring with a 6-yard touchdown run with 4:21 left in the fourth quarter.
This is a different look for the Dust Devils, who had Justin Cross as their featured running back the last two years.
"We've got some different guys and I think it's going to be good. It's going to give us more breaks and keep us fresher out there," said May, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior. "And tonight, the line was awesome. They stepped up big time from the scrimmage (last week at Fernley) and really opened up some holes for us."
The Dust Devils got on the scoreboard on their fourth play of the game on Walker's 45-yard touchdown run.
Damonte Ranch, a second-year 4A school that is playing an independent schedule this fall, answered with a touchdown on its first possession when Josh Buck got open in the secondary and caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Scott Pierce. Jose Torres kicked the PAT to give the Mustangs a 7-6 lead.
Dayton regained the lead when wideout Trent Wood got open on a quick slant pattern and caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from his younger brother, Travis. Trent Wood kicked the PAT to give the Dust Devils a 14-7 lead with 10:24 remaining in the second quarter.
They never trailed again.
Damonte Ranch was forced into a punting situation moments later, and after a low snap, Andy Salazar blocked the kick to give the Dust Devils first down at the 17. Then, on a third-and-6 play from the 13, Hopper caught a sideline pass from Travis Wood, broke a tackle at the 10, and scampered into the end zone to give Dayton a 21-7 lead.
Dayton didn't waste any time on its opening possession after the intermission. Walker went for three yards, May powered through the Damonte Ranch defense for 24 yards, Walker gained three more yards and Hopper ran 40 yards through the left side for his second touchdown.
"This is a great way to start it off," May said of the season-opening win. "But we've still have to pick it some more, though."
The Dust Devils play their home opener this coming Friday night against Faith Lutheran.