DAYTON — The Enterprise Outlaws rode into Dayton here Thursday night and stole a 24-6 non-league prep football victory.
But stole is hardly the word for Enterprise’s victory according to Dayton coach Tony Henderson. He believes his team gave the game away.
"I’m not taking anything away from Enterprise — they’re a classy group of kids, but we shot ourselves in the foot so many times tonight," said an obviously frustrated Henderson.
"When we had receivers down field in the first half, we dropped the ball. We didn’t keep running our routes. We didn’t execute."
"Every time we get three, four (good plays) in a row, we jump, bad snap, wrong formation, and we go backwards."
The Outlaws chewed up 227 yards on the ground against the Bulldogs, scoring one touchdown each quarter en route to the win.
The Outlaws held a 12-0 lead at halftime, but it could just as easily have been 0-0.
The Outlaws first scoring drive began at their own 47 after the opening kickoff. Thirteen plays and nearly 10 minutes later, Marcus Lynn scored on a 12-yard rush around left end. The drive saw the Outlaws overcome a third-down-and-30, and an apparent turnover on a fumble by runner Jared Micka.
Micka, running to his left, appeared to have dropped the football untouched, knocking it forward with his knee into a host of Bulldog secondary players.
The ball appeared to be recovered by the Bulldogs but was awarded to the Outlaws instead. Two plays later Lynn punched up the first six points for the Outlaws.
"The fumble that wasn’t doesn’t bother me as much as the third-and-30," Henderson said. "They got 28 of the 30 (on that play), then went for it on fourth down and got it."
Later in the half, the Outlaws faced fourth-and-10 from the Bulldog 27 and elected to go for it. Game-leading rusher Jacob Girtz plowed through the left side of the Bulldogs defense for 21 yards and a first down at the Bulldog 6. Two plays later, Lynn scored his second touchdown, a 2-yard scamper with 1:48 remaining until half.
"They ran a straight dive, not even a lead blocker," sputtered Henderson.
"I told them at halftime, that’s just an in-your-face play right there. That’s pride time. They do that to you, they’re basically telling you, ‘we can do whatever we want to you.’
"I’m sure we were down a little more (emotionally) than we should have been. It would have been nice to go into halftime down 6-0 instead of 12-0, but that’s the way it goes."
Dayton’s first drive after halftime began promisingly with a 40-yard march to the Outlaw 24, but two tackles for loss on second and third downs left the Bulldogs in a fourth-and-20 throwing situation. Bulldog quarterback Colton Bickelhaupt hit receiver Dain Henderson 19 yards down the field along the left sideline, but he was stopped there a yard short of the first down.
The Bulldogs forced the Outlaws into a three-and-out, and awaited the punt and likely good field position. Unfortunately, Bickelhaupt fumbled on the return and the Bulldogs gave the Outlaws a new set of downs at the Dayton 46. Six plays later Jacob Girtz registered his first touchdown on a 2-yard run.
In the fourth quarter, the Outlaws appeared to be marching to a fourth touchdown when quarterback Kyle Stangel fumbled the ball. Andrew Groom recovered for the Bulldogs at their own 21.
Dayton followed up the fumble recovery with a drive of negative-14 yards and a partially blocked punt. The Outlaws completed their scoring one play later on a 12-yard pass from Stangel to Jared Micka.
The Bulldogs finally hit pay dirt with 1:20 remaining in the game on a four-play, 85-yard drive, capped by a 12-yard Dain Henderson run.
"The positives are, we can move the football," Henderson said. "We’ve just got to be able to execute all the way down the field. Get it in the end zone and quit doing stupid stuff.
"We played with a lot of heart, but we didn’t play with our heads very well. You’ve got to do both to be successful."
The Bulldogs next game is at home Thursday against Weston-McEwen. Conference play begins the following week.
Enterprise 6 6 6 6 — 24
Dayton 0 0 0 6 — 6
Ent — Lynn 12 run (kick failed).
Ent — Lynn 2 run (kick blocked).
Ent — Girtz 2 run (kick failed).
Ent — Jar. Micka 12 pass from Stangel (run failed).
Day — Henderson 12 run (kick failed).
First downs 12 10
Rushes/yards 39-227 29-92
Passing yards 38 96
Passes (att-comp-int) 4-2-0 13-6-1
Punts 1-35 4-20
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-yards 6-45 3-25
RUSHING — Enterprise: Girtz 14-118, Steen 7-20, Lynn 11-51, Jar. Micka 3-30, Stangel 2-5, Denton 2-4; Dayton: Frame 6-15, Bickelhaupt 10-(-6), No. 14 1-3, Gatlin 7-33, Henderson 4-47.
PASSING — Enterprise: Stangel 2-4-0, 38 yards, 1 touchdown; Dayton: Bickelhaupt 6-13-1, 96 yards.
RECEIVING — Enterprise: Jac. Micka 1-26-0, Jar. Micka 1-12-1; Dayton: Ramos 3-34-0, Henderson 2-33-0, Turner 1-29-0.