DAYTON - DeSales held off a stubborn bunch of Dayton Bulldogs in the drizzle here Friday in Southeast 2B-11 Conference football action.
Dayton scored first, but DeSales scored the next 24 points as the Irish improved to 3-1 in conference with a 24-7 win.
Dayton's Isaiah Lambert returned the opening kick off 24 yards to the Bulldog 35 yard line.
Dain Henderson, a senior running back, carried five times and gained 36 yards, and with Bulldog quarterback Colton Bickelhaupt scrambling for a 16-yard run, Dayton marched to the Irish 13.
On fourth down, Bickelhaupt scrambled, keeping the play alive long enough for Albert Yacovelli to get open in the middle of the end zone. Bickelhaupt found him for the early score, Joey Schlachter added the point-after, and the Bulldogs led 7-0 with 7:24 left in the first quarter.
"They (the Bulldogs) played with heart," Bulldog coach Dean Bickelhaupt said. "They have given me all they've got - every play, every minute."
The Irish answered with a five-play, 62-yard march to tie the score at 7-7 with 5:09 left.
A Jeremiah Cox-to-Ryan Baumgart 17-yard pass completion started the drive and the same duo climaxed the march with a 23-yard scoring play.
The Irish defense forced a three-and-out and the Irish took over at the Bulldog 43.
Kyle Lindgren started the march with an 8-yard burst, but was injured on the play. He limped off the field and did not return.
Seven plays later, Luke Fazzari, who replaced Lindgren, took it in from the 3 and the Irish had the lead for good at 13-7 with 10:54 left in the half.
Dayton went three-and-out, but the Irish gave the ball back. Kroft Sunderland hit Cox just as he threw and Yacovelli made a diving interception at his own 30. DeSales forced a Bulldog punt, one of seven on the night, to get the ball back.
"They (Dayton) came out very aggressive," Irish coach Pat Graham said. "We weren't ready to go. Defensively, we settled down after that first drive and played with much more physicality and matched their intensity."
A Cox-to-Nick Wales tight end screen went for 54 yards, the Irish added the 2-point conversion on a Cox-to-Baumgart pass, and DeSales grabbed a 21-7 lead with 4:55 left in the half.
The Irish marched to the Bulldog 39 in the waning moments of the half, but Sunderland sacked Cox back at the 47 and DeSales settled for a 21-7 lead at intermission.
With Sunderland making two tackles for losses, and Schlachter recording a sack, the Bulldog defense held the Irish scoreless in the third quarter.
The Irish defense answered as Vic Mata and Fazzari teamed up for a sack of Bickelhaupt. Spencer Cordeiro recorded a tackle for a loss, and Wales stopped a Bulldog reverse for a loss of 4. The Irish defense held Dayton to minus-2 yards of offense in the third.
DeSales got close twice in the closing quarter, but the Bulldog defense was up to the task.
The Irish had a first down at the Bulldog 9, got to the 4, but settled for a 20-yard Mata field goal with 9:11 left - the only score of the second half.
Baumgart won a jump ball with Dayton's Garett Turner on a 34-yard pass from Cox, and DeSales was knocking on the door at the Dayton 4 with five minutes left.
The Irish gained three yards in three plays, and the Bulldogs forced an incomplete pass on fourth down to take over on their own 1.
"We had two stands inside our 10," coach Bickelhaupt said. "We gave up three points, but that was still big to hold those guys out."
"There were times when we had some really good things offensively," Graham said. "Other times, we just weren't in sync. You have to give credit to Dayton. They have some big kids that were very physical up front and they gave our offensive line all they could handle."
Lindgren retired after three rushes for 21 yards. Baumgart caught eight passes for 113 yards, Wales caught four for 75 yards, and Cox threw for 211 yards and two TDs to lead the Irish.
"We missed him (Lindgren) in the running game, (in) the protection scheme, and on defense," Graham said of the Lindgren injury. "Kyle is the toughest kid I've ever known. The fact that he's hurt and couldn't play really scares me. We'll see if we can get him ready for next week."
On the Dayton injury front, freshman Cruz Ramirez was injured midway through the fourth and will be further evaluated.
Henderson ran for 58 yards, and Bickelhaupt threw for 73, to lead Dayton.
"It's just the little things that are still getting us," coach Bickelhaupt said. "Offensively, we looked good at times, but we're still not consistent. We'll just keep battling."
The Bulldogs host Asotin Friday.
DeSales travels to Chiawana High School to take on Tri-Cities Prep Friday.
DeSales 24, Dayton 7
DeSales 7 14 0 3 - 24
Dayton 7 0 0 0 - 7
Dayton - Yacovelli 13 pass from Bickelhaupt (Schlachter kick).
DeSales - Baumgart 23 pass from Cox (Mata kick).
DeSales - Fazzari 3 run (kick failed).
DeSales - Wales 54 pass from Cox (Baumgart pass from Cox).
DeSales - Mata 20 FG.
First downs 14 8
Rushes/yards 29-99 35-72
Passing yards 211 73
Passes (att-comp-int) 23-16-1 10-4-1
Punts 1-30.0 7-29.1
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-0
Penalties-yards 7-45 6-39
RUSHING - DeSales: Lindgren 3-21, Cox 10-35, Fazzari 16-43-1; Dayton: Henderson 13-58, Bickelhaupt 5-6, J. Frame 12-21, W. Frame 1-(-4), Smith 3-9, Stevens 1-3.
PASSING - DeSales: Cox 16-23-1 211 yards 2 TDs; Dayton: Bickelhaupt 4-10-1 73 yards 1 TD.
RECEIVING - DeSales: Baumgart 8-113-1, Lindgren 1-9, Gregg 1-4, Wales 4-75-1, Duehn 2-10; Dayton: Yacovelli 2-29-1, W. Frame 1-18, Turner 1-26.