DAYTON — The game against Liberty Christian started as scripted by Dayton coach Tony Henderson Friday night.
Henderson’s Bulldogs opened with a 60-yard, 14-play drive that took 7:08 and resulted in Dain Henderson’s 1-yard score. A two-point conversion later and Dayton held an 8-0 lead.
But that was the highlight of the homecoming for the Bulldogs, as the Patriots answered with a touchdown of their own and ended up with a 34-8 victory that leaves Dayton as the Southeast 2B-11 League’s lone winless team.
"We’ve done that three games in a row now, come out and driven the ball well," coach Henderson said. "Our kids just have trouble hanging on for four quarters."
The Patriots’ Zach Simpkins capped LC’s first drive with an 18-yard run into the end zone, but LC’s two-point conversion failed and Dayton enjoyed an 8-6 lead after the first quarter. That lead evaporated at the end of the second quarter as LC quarterback Mike Olson scored from a yard out with 18 seconds left before halftime that put the Pats up 14-8.
More devastating for the Bulldogs than the score was losing lineman Kroft Sunderland on the goal-line stand. Sunderland left with a hyperextended knee, and is probably done for the season, Henderson said.
"We run behind Kroft almost all our plays," his coach said. "Losing him — I’m not saying we get a win, but we stay more competitive when he’s on the field."
The Patriots scored on two more runs, of 1 and 3 yards, and on a blocked punt recovered in the end zone, to complete the scoring.
To add insult to injury, Henderson found himself watching most of the fourth quarter from the bleachers after a referee enforced a new rule on remaining in the coaches’ box to the letter of the law.
"They’re very tight about staying in the coaches’ box," he said. "When Colton (Bickelhaupt, Dayton’s quarterback) made the long run down the side (a 40-yard scamper down the left sideline in the fourth quarter), I just stepped over that line. The referee came by and brushed me."
Without a warning, Henderson was off the field.
"I didn’t argue the call," he said.
"The bottom line tonight was, we didn’t tackle very well," Henderson said. "They (the Patriots) had a lot of yards rushing (246). We did not tackle very well at all, and that came back to bite us. If we can tackle well, I think we can compete a little bit.
"I feel bad for the kids, they’re a great group of kids," he said. "I wish they could get a win. They played hard, but we just can’t sustain for four quarters."
LC 6 8 8 12 — 34
Dayton 8 0 0 0 — 8
Dayton — Henderson 1 run (Henderson pass from Bickelhaupt).
LC — Simpkins 18 run (run failed).
LC — Olson 1 run (Corrigan pass from Olson)
LC — Hoye 1 run (Hoye pass from Olson).
LC — Simpkins 3 run (pass failed).
LC — Roberts blocked punt recover (run failed).
First downs 15 6
Rushes/yards 40-246 35-103
Passing yards 71 7
Passes (att-comp-int) 8-6-0 11-2-0
Punts 2-32.5 4-33
Fumbles-lost 2-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 8-67.5 5-55
RUSHING — LC: Simpkins 19-151, Hoye 12-83, Olson 5-9, Crawford 3-6, Koglin 1-(-3); Day: Bicklhaupt 12-56, Henderson 11-45, Frame 11-19, Schlachter 1-(17).
PASSING — LC: Olson 6-8-0, 71 yards. Dayton: Bickelhaupt 1-10-0, Henderson 1-1-0.
RECEIVING — LC: Hoye 2-43, Koglin 1-13, Morris 2-12, Simpkins 1-3. Dayton: Ramos 1-8, Bickelhaupt 1-(-1).