DAYTON — Luke Fazzari pounded away at Dayton’s defense for 177 rushing yards on 23 carries here Friday in DeSales’ Southeast 2B football conference opener.
Fazzari’s running, and a last-second score to end the first half, sparked DeSales to a 34-6 victory.
“Every year we play Dayton, Dean’s (Bickelhaupt, Dayton’s coach) kids play extremely hard,” Irish coach Mike Spiess said. “Dayton created some issues for us, but Luke ran the ball hard. I was very pleased with our two-minute offense to end the first half.”
Dayton punted the ball away on its first possession, but an Irish penalty gave the Bulldogs back the ball at the Irish 45. The Bulldogs fumbled it right back.
“That (fumble) is the way it’s been going,” Bickelhaupt said. “We’ve been beating ourselves and trying to play catch up, and we just can’t get it going. The mistakes are still getting us.”
DeSales’ Kyler Pommerening scooped up the Bulldog fumble at the 50 and rambled to the Bulldog 4. Fazzari powered in from there and the Irish led 7-0 with 9:25 left in the first.
On the ensuing Bulldog possession, Pommerening picked off a Bulldog pass to give the Irish the ball at midfield.
Andrew Mendoza and Alex Naylor combined to stop Fazzari for a yard loss on first down, and two incomplete passes later, the Irish were forced to punt.
Wyatt Frame blocked the punt and Dayton had the ball at the Irish 45. A Frame scamper around right end gave Dayton a first down at the Irish 13, but the Irish defense turned the Bulldogs away as Bulldog quarterback Lowden Smith’s roll out on a fourth-and-5 from the Irish 8 came up a yard short.
“The kids are playing real hard,” Bickelhaupt said. “It’s just young mistakes with kids in new positions.”
Dayton went three-and-out on its first second-quarter possession, but DeSales muffed the punt. Ryan Baumgart fell on the loose ball for the Irish at the Dayton 48. Four plays later, Irish quarterback Jeremiah Cox connected with Joe Duehn on a 19-yard scoring pass and the Irish led 14-0.
DeSales forced a Frame 35-yard punt on the following Bulldog possession, and took over at its own 31 with 1:17 to play in the half.
Cox, who missed on his first four pass attempts of the game, hit six in a row as the Irish, following an Isaiah Scheel catch for 20 yards, marched to a first down at the Bulldog 28 with four ticks left. Cox rolled left and found Duehn in the end zone and the Irish went to intermission up 21-0.
“We work on our two-minute offense quite a bit,” Spiess said. “We took it down to the last second and did score.”
“It shouldn’t have been 21-0 at the half,” Bickelhaupt said. “That hurt. We were doing pretty good until that last play, then we just lost our man.”
The Irish were held in check until their last possession of the third. DeSales went 80 yards in 12 plays and took six minutes off the clock. Fazzari ran for 45 yards, including the last four for the score, but it took a flanker-around pass from Baumgart to Dueh for 26 yards to keep the drive alive following a Johnny Sanchez sack of Cox for a loss of 10.
DeSales went to the fourth up 27-0.
Pommerening capped his night on the first Irish possession of the fourth. Cox found the senior wide receiver for a 37-yard strike and the Irish upped the lead to 34-0 with 9:38 left.
“Kyler has made a lot of big plays for us,” Spiess said. “He scooped (the fumble) and should’ve scored, then he intercepts the ball, and catches a touchdown pass. He’s doing some really good things.”
Dayton fought on as Smith found Frame on the near sideline, and Frame bounced off a would-be tackler and took it 77 yards for Dayton’s score to run the final to 34-6.
“We try to get him (Frame) outside as much as we can,” Bickelhaupt said. “He’s our go-to guy. It was nice to see him get a touchdown.”
Isaiah Lambert led the Bulldogs with 51 yards on 12 rushes and Smith threw for 98.
Dayton drops to 0-2 in conference and faces Tekoa-Oakesdale-Rosalia Friday.
“We played with them (DeSales) other than our mistakes,” Bickelhaupt said. “Our heads are up and we’re ready to keep playing football. We’re getting better and we’re fighting.”
Cox threw for 183 yards and three scores as DeSales moves to 4-0, 1-0 in conference, and travels to Waitsburg-Prescott Friday.
“We’re happy to be 4-0,” Spiess said. “But, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
DeSales 34, Dayton 6
DeSales 7 14 6 7 — 34
Dayton 0 0 0 6 — 6
DeS — Fazzari 4 run (P. Elmenhurst kick).
DeS — Duehn 19 pass from Cox (P. Elmenhurst kick).
DeS — Duehn 28 pass from Cox (P. Elmenhurst kick).
DeS — Fazzari 4 run (kick failed).
DeS — Pommerening 37 pass from Cox (P. Elmenhurst kick).
Day — Frame 77 pass from Smith (pass failed).
First Downs 22 7
Rushes/yards 34-183 42-125
Passing yards 241 98
Passing (att-com-ints) 29-18-1 6-3-1
Penalties 6-63 5-45
Fumbles/lost 3-2 3-2
Punts 1-27 5-26.4
Rushing — DeS: Fazzari 23-177-2, Cox 2-10, A. Elmenhurst 3-37, Richard 1-(-4), Healey 2-(-9), Team 3-9-(-28); Day: Lambert 12-51, Smith 8-21, Hackett 10-25, Frame 5-34, Spalinger 3-8, Sanchez 1-(-1), West 1-10, Team 2-(-23).
Passing — DeS: Cox 14-24-1, 183 yards, 3 TDs, Baumgart 1-1-0, 26 yards, Richard 3-4-0 32 yards; Day: Smith 3-6-1, 98 yards, 1 TD.
Receiving — DeS: A. Elmenhurst 1-14, Duehn 5-85-2, Fazzari 1-7, Baumgart 3-22, Pommerening 3-51-1, Richard 1-10, Scheel 2-35, Kent 1-12, Lopez 1-5; Day: Frame 2-85-1, Spalinger 1-13.