POMEROY - Dayton won the battle of wills on a crisp and cloudless Thursday night on the Palouse.
The Bulldogs, 1-7 in the regular season in District 9 2B-11 football, weren't favored to top Tekoa-Oakesdale-Rosalia or Tri-Cities Prep in two mini-game tie-breakers at the neutral site.
But the Bulldogs won twice, defeating T-O-R, 16-9, in two overtimes, then topping T-C Prep, 8-6, with the lone touchdown coming off the defense.
"We're stoked," said Dayton head coach Dean Bickelhaupt, around hugs and congratulations from fans and family. "We couldn't be more excited. The kids played their hearts out here tonight and I couldn't ask for anything more of every one of them. I'm really proud of them."
The win moves Dayton, now District 9's No. 4 seed, to a playoff game with No. 1-seed Colfax Friday night in Colfax.
"Our season's not over yet," Bickelhaupt said. "I couldn't ask for a better way to win and continue playing. We've still got the chance to make state if we can knock off Colfax.
"I've told the guys all year - if you work hard, good things will happen. They stayed positive and this is a good result."
Junior Joey Schlachter, a tight end, punter and kicker, got the Bulldogs rolling.
Schlachter opened scoring on the night with a 30-yard field goal, and closed the first game with the extra point.
"That field goal got us jump-started," a grinning Bickelhaupt said.
He said it was Dayton's first field goal on the year.
"I trust Joey's leg," he said. "That jump-started the whole thing."
T-O-R answered with a field goal of their own in the second 12 minutes of the first mini-game to tie it, forcing overtime. Both teams scored a touchdown in the first Kansas-City-style OT - and both missed the kick.
Dayton's touchdown started with a 6-yard pass from quarterback Colton Bickelhaupt - first bouncing off Wyatt Frame's hands around the 1-yard line before landing safely in Hayden Fullerton's grasp in the end zone, to the amazement of the crowd.
In the second OT period, Dayton had the first possession - and 13 plays later, senior Dain Henderson scrambled from the 9 yard line for the score.
Schlachter's kick was good for the 16-9 lead, and Bulldog Josh Frame picked off Nighthawk QB Scott Eberle's pass in the end zone to lock up the game.
Meanwhile, Tri-Cities Prep, which entered the contest as the highest seed, was warming up.
The Jaguars controlled the ball and much of the game - Dayton's offense had possession for about seven of the 24-minutes.
But Dayton didn't end up needing its offense.
Early in the second 12 minutes, Colton Bickelhaupt picked off Jaguar backup QB Jameson Pedersen and returned it four yards for a touchdown.
The snap was fumbled on the extra point kick - and Bickelhaupt, now at holder, recovered it ran it in for the 2-point conversion.
"Colton got in with it," Dean Bickelhaupt said. "That was big for us. It gave us the win. It was a hard-fought game."
T-C Prep marched the ball back to Dayton's goal line - aided by 30 yards in Bulldog penalties - and Pedersen found Jacob Schmidt for a 15-yard touchdown pass.
But the Jaguar's run attempt failed.
And although Dayton never controlled the ball in the second 12 minutes, the Bulldogs' defense kept the Jaguar threat quiet.
The Jaguars' posted five first-downs in the 12-minutes, but Dayton kept them away from the red zone.
With less than two minutes to play, Pedersen attempted nine passes and completed four - but the Jaguars weren't able to score. T-C Prep turned it over on downs with 30 seconds remaining, and Colton Bickelhaupt took a knee.
The Bulldogs lost to T-O-R at home and ended a two-year losing skid in Southeast 2B play with a 13-3 win over Tri-Cities Prep in early October.
"We deserved to win tonight," said Dean Bickelhaupt. "We played some great defense in both games and we were due. It's funny how you get here."
Dayton 16, T-O-R 9 (2 OT)
Dayton 3 0 6 7 - 16
T-O-R 0 3 6 0 - 9
Dayton - Schlachter 30-yard field goal
T-O-R - Dedic 28-yard field goal
T-O-R - Eberle 26-yard pass to Gaines (kick fail)
Dayton - Bickehlahupt 6-yard pass to Fullerton (kick fail)
Dayton - Henderson 9-yard TD run (kick good)
First Downs 6 6
Rushes-Yards 18-84 21-88
Passing Yards 41 21
Passes (Att-Comp-Int) 7-4-1 4-2-2
Punts 0-0 2-46
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 3-30 6-55
RUSHING - Dayton: Henderson 5-23 1 TD, Frame 11-79, Bickelhaupt 2-(-18). T-O-R: Gaines 10-71, Eberle 3-15, Gaines 1-2.
PASSING - Dayton: Bickelhaupt 4-41 1 TD. T-O-R: Eberle 2-21 1 TD.
RECEIVING - Dayton: Fullerton 1-6 1 TD, Frame 1-1, Schlachter 2-33. T-O-R: Gaines 2-21 1 TD.
Dayton 8, TCP 6
Dayton 0 8 - 8
TCP 0 6 - 6
Dayton - Bickelhaupt 4-yard interception return, (Bickelhaupt run)
TCP - Schmidt 15-yard catch from Pedersen (PAT fail)
Dayton T-C Prep
First Downs 2 5
Rushes-Yards 7-32 12-13
Passing Yards 7 89
Passes (Att-Comp-Int) 3-1-0 28-9-1
Punts 3-79 4-143
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 3-45 8-75
RUSHING - Dayton: Frame 3-4, Henderson 4-28. TCP: Schmidt 1-6, Pedersen 9-22, Whitsett 1-(-14), Yakawich 1-(-1).
PASSING - Dayton: Bickelhaupt 1-7. TCP: Whitsett 1-6, Pedersen 8-83.
RECEIVING - Dayton: Schlachter 1-7. TCP: Schmidt 2-20, Whitsett 1-7, Yakawich 1-6, Redmann 1-6, Rivas 2-16.