DAYTON — Dayton coach Tony Henderson knew his Bulldogs squad had its work cut out with Southeast 2B-1 League powerhouse Asotin coming into town Friday night.
Between injuries and academic ineligibility, Dayton’s roster of 32 players from two weeks ago was reduced to half that as the Bulldogs prepared for the game.
There was even discussion of not playing the game, Henderson said.
"We contemplated possibly a forfeit because we only had 16 kids, and we decided, no, we wanted to do the right thing and do right by the community and come out and play the football game and let the chips fall where they may," Henderson said. "I was proud of our kids. We didn’t quit."
Asotin’s Riley Spooner took the first play of the game 62 yards down the right sideline untouched for the touchdown, and the Panthers were off to the 53-0 victory.
"We knew coming into the game that we were beat up and we were awful young," Henderson said. "I think we started eight sophomores tonight. Between injuries and academic problems, we’d lost some kids.
"I’m not blaming the loss on that (academic problems and injuries). They (the Panthers) are a (state) semifinal-quality team for the last four or five years. So I knew they were going to bring it and we just had to play as tough as we could and keep our heads up."
Asotin scored on its first four offensive possessions of the game to take a 26-0 lead after the first quarter.
The Panthers held a 39-0 lead at halftime, and put two more touchdowns on the board in the second half for the winning margin.
"(Asotin head coach) Sal (Lopez) showed a lot of class; he pulled his dogs early and let a lot of kids get playing time," Henderson said. "And in turn, that kind of kept our kids’ heads up and kept us playing. We never quit."
Dayton’s best scoring opportunity of the evening game on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs punted from the Asotin 46, the Panthers’ return man coughed the ball up at the 20 and Dayton recovered.
But the Bulldogs returned the fumble on the next play.
Dayton gave up three fumbles on the night.
"We had some crucial turnovers that we might have been able to score on," Henderson said. "We recovered a punt and gave it right back. Those kind of things hurt. We have to clean up our turnovers."
Dayton quarterback Colton Bickelhaupt was 7-for-15 for 60 yards and no interceptions in the game.
"Colton threw the ball well at times tonight," Henderson said. "We saw some positive stuff."
Asotin quarterback Ben Servatius finished the evening 6-for-11 for 92 yards and no picks.
The Panthers’ ground game piled up 285 yards on 19 carries, including TD runs of 62, 1, 24, 11, 49 and 62 yards.
Dayton had 41 yards on 28 runs.
Asotin 26 13 7 7 — 53
Dayton 0 0 0 0 — 0
Aso — Spooner 62 run (kick blocked).
Aso — Styner 1 run (Servatius kick).
Aso — Davis 35 pass from Servatius (kick missed).
Aso — Spooner 24 run (Servatius kick).
Aso — Small 5 pass from Servatius (Servatius kick).
Aso — McIntosh 11 run (kick blocked).
Aso — Servatius 49 run (Cabrera kick).
Aso — Miller 62 run (Cabrera kick).
First downs 12 9
Rushes/yards 19-285 28-41
Passing yards 92 60
Passes (att-comp-int) 11-6-0 15-7-0
Punts 1-29 6-23
Fumbles-lost 4-2 3-3
Penalties-yards 1-15 1-5
RUSHING — Asotin: Spooner 4-116, Styner 6-23, Servatius 5-59, Forsberg 1-11, Whittaker 1-5, Miller 2-71; Dayton: Frame 15-25, Turner 1-9, Bickelhaupt 9-(-4), Fullerton 1-3, Ramos 2-8.
PASSING — Asotin: Servatius 6-11-0, 92 yards, 2 TDs. Dayton: Bickelhaupt 7-15-0, 60 yards.
RECEIVING — Asotin: Small 3-43-0, Davis 1-35-0, McIntosh 1-10-0, Spooner 1-4-0; Dayton: Turner 4-10-0, Ramos 2-14-0, Fullerton 1-6-0.