DAYTON - It's safe to say that Dayton football coach Rick Walker is stoked about his newest receiver.
Jordan Stokes, a transfer from Liberty High in Las Vegas, caught seven passes for 150 yards and two scores, and threw a magnificent block on an Erik Hopper scoring run in the second half, to spark the Dust Devils to a convincing 34-7 win over Mammoth Friday night in a nonconference game.
It's the second straight seven-catch game for Stokes. In two games, he has 14 catches for 305 yards and three scores. He's made several acrobatic catches of Travis Wood passes, and has shown that he's more than capable of filling talented Trent Wood's shoes.
The win evened Dayton's record at 1-1. The Dust Devils' next game is Sept. 16 at Lowry.
"Ever since I've been here, I've always talked about getting a transfer," Walker said. "He's done a great job of fitting in here, and he's got a great work ethic. Sometimes you worry about kids when they come from bigger schools. He's earned the kids' respect.
"The surprising thing is the way he looks to make a block when he's out there. He comes across the field on the buck sweep. He made some great blocks out there."
The best one came on Hopper's (14 carries, 177 yards rushing and 5 catches, 62 yards receiving) 65-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter. Stokes sliced in and cut down Mammoth's Trent Richardson, who suffered a broken collarbone on the play.
Travis Wood was quick to toss accolades to his new receiver, who moved to Dayton just about six weeks ago.
"He's awesome," said Wood, who completed 16 of 23 passes for 252 yards and three scores. "We're just getting started."
Stokes is just happy to be here. He had a chance to stay in Las Vegas with a relative, but opted to make the trip with his parents.
"He (Wood) is making me look good," Stokes said. "We have just clicked. He takes good care of me. I love it here. I wouldn't go back."
Dayton's prolific offense chalked up 461 yards total offense, giving it nearly 1,000 in two games.
The Dust Devils started quick, driving 86 yards on their first possession against the outmatched Huskies. The drive was capped by Hopper's 3-yard scoring run to make it 6-0, the first of three scores for the talented junior running back.
After an exchange of punts, Dayton got the ball back at its own 20 with 1:54 left in the opening period.
The Dust Devils clicked off a 13-play (plus two penalties) drive which was capped by Wood's 11-yard scoring strike to Stokes, who said that Wood checked off the play at the line. Jerry Trigueros' PAT made it 13-0 with 8:26 left in the half.
Dayton converted two big third-down plays on the drive. Wood completed a middle screen to Brandon Aguilera for 15 yards on a third-and-12 play from the Dayton 18. Wood and Stokes hooked up for a 19-yard play on a third-and-10 play at the Mammoth 37-yard line.
Dayton's defense held again, forcing another Mammoth punt. The 32-yard punt gave Dayton excellent field position at its own 47.
It took only two plays for the Dust Devils to reach paydirt. After Aguilera gained 12 yards, Wood and Stokes hooked up on a 41-yard scoring play. Wood's two-point conversion pass to Hopper made it 21-0 with 5:34 remaining in the half.
Mammoth scored its only touchdown on the next drive, putting together a 12-play, 67-yard drive that was capped by Richardson's 2-yard run. Ricardo Godinez's extra point made it 21-7.
Corey Cupp's interception and 39-yard return set up Hopper's 6-yard TD reception from Wood to make it 27-7 with 2:33 left in the third quarter. Hopper culminated the scoring with his 65-yard scoring run with 3:30 left in the game.
Hopper has been special in his own right, rushing for 341 yards and chalking up 165 on pass receptions in the first two weeks. Not bad for a first-year starter.
With all the offense Dayton showed, it would be easy to overlook the defense. After being gouged for 570 yards last week by North Valleys, Dayton, led by Robby Bell and Wade Guirlani, allowed only 133 yards total offense.
"I hope it wasn't just because of that (Mammoth is a smaller school)," Walker said. "The kids did a good job of carrying out their assignments. When you do that, you can succeed."
"We practiced hard on defense this week, wrapping up the ball carriers," said Wood, who also played middle linebacker for several series'. "We knew our offense would be there."
Darrell Moody can be reached at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281