DAYTON - Simply put, the Dayton Dust Devils dug themselves too big of a first-half hole.
Faith Lutheran turned two Dayton turnovers into first-half scores, and then held off a frantic Dayton rally in the fourth quarter to escape with a 26-20 nonleague football win Friday night.
"We knew they were a good team," said Dayton head coach Rick Walker, whose team fell to 1-1 overall. "They just moved up to 3A this year. They executed real well. They're a good team. They're a quality team, and we took them right down to the wire.
"They blanketed our receivers. We didn't get any separation. I thought our running game went fairly well. (Offensively) we kept shooting ourselves in the foot."
Indeed. Faith Lutheran converted three Dayton turnovers into touchdowns.
Dayton looked like world beaters on its first three plays. Zane Walker rambled for 22 yards down to the Faith Lutheran 38, and Travis Tapp picked up another first down with a 12-yard gain down to the 26. Walker, who led Dayton with 121 yards on 19 carries, gained 21 yards down to the FL 5.
Unfortunately for the Dust Devils, it went quickly downhill. After Walker was stopped for no gain on first down, sophomore quarterback Travis Wood misfired on second down. Tapp picked up a yard, but on fourth-and-goal, Joshua Washington intercepted a pass in the right corner of the end zone, killing the drive.
Faith Lutheran didn't waste the opportunity.
Facing a third-and-12 from his own 18, Cameron Done connected for 29 yards and a first down to Jarid Rollins. The duo hooked up two plays later for an 8-yard gain and a first down at the Dayton 41. After a 10-yard gain by Elliott Schneiderman, Done (10-for-20, 182 yards) threw a 31-yard scoring strike to Washington to make it 6-0 with 5:58 left.
Dayton had another golden opportunity to score on its last possession of the first quarter, taking over at the Faith Lutheran 36. They went three and out courtesy of two incompletes by Travis Wood and a short gain by Walker.
Faith Lutheran drove 80 yards on five plays, capped by Done's 63-yard scoring pass to Washington, who finished with three catches for 106 yards. The big play gave Faith Lutheran a 12-0 lead with 9:14 left.
"He was huge," Walker said of Washington. "Both times we were supposed to have help over the top and it didn't get there. We tried to bracket him to give us time to get pressure on the quarterback.
"They followed that first drive with the score and then they scored again."
Another interception enabled Faith Lutheran to score less than three minutes later.
Nadim Ahmed picked off a pass at the Dayton 35 and returned it down to the 31. Three plays later, Done faked to running back John Nixon, and then tucked it and rambled 22 yards for the score to make it 18-0.
A bad snap on a punt forced Faith Lutheran to take a 20-yard loss back at the Dayton 12 with 1:32 left in the half.
Travis Wood fired an incomplete pass on first down, but then found his brother, Trent for a 12-yard score. Trent Wood's PAT made it 18-7.
The defenses took over in the third quarter until the final two minutes when Rico Portaro recovered a Travis Wood fumble at the Dayton 8, and Brandon Lake scored on the next play. Rollins' conversion run made it 26-7.
Game over? Think again.
Dayton bounced rigt back with a 64-yard scoring drive to open the fourth quarter, as Walker crashed over from the 2 to make it 26-13. The key plays on the drive were a 23-yard pass by Travis Wood and a 14-yard run by Walker.
Dayton's defense, led by Scott Brower, forced Faith Lutheran to punt on its next possession.
The Dust Devils clicked off a 76-yard scoring drive, as Travis Wood found Walker with a 22-yard pass in the left corner of the end zone. Trent Wood's PAT made it 26-20 with 2 minutes left to play. The big play of the drive was an 18-yard completion to Josh Aaker for a first down at the 17.
Faith Lutheran recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or 881-1281.