STANFIELD — A fumble recovery score and a timely penalty cost Dayton a chance at taking down Stanfield Friday.
Instead, Stanfield defeated the Bulldogs, 24-13, while rushing for 248 yards and three scores.
Dayton responded with 182 yards on the ground, with Lowden Smith accounting for 162 yards.
But it was missed opportunities that ultimately cost the Bulldogs a chance at winning. Before halftime, Dayton had the ball on the half-yard line looking for a go-ahead score.
Instead, a penalty moved the offense backward and they finished the drive scoreless. Stanfield held a 12-7 lead at halftime.
Dayton coach Dean Bickelhaupt said that with a young roster those mistakes will happen, but the momentum of the game changed on that ill-fated possession.
“That was pretty frustrating not getting that in there,” Bickelhaupt said. “We could have went into halftime ahead and we went in not scoring there. It’s tough to get the momentum back going for you when that happens.”
The momentum did swing back in Dayton’s favor on the opening drive of the second half, as Andrew Mendoza intercepted Stanfield’s Ryan Bailey. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs promptly gave the ball right back, fumbling on the first play of the ensuing drive.
To make matters worse, Stanfield took the fumble 40 yards to extend the lead to 18-7.
“When you get plays like that when you’re playing (on the road) it’s tough to maintain your composure,” Bickelhaupt said. “We just maintained our composure after that. That’s just stuff that could have gone either way — you get momentum and lose it like that. It breaks your heart.”
But the Bulldogs bit back, as Smith punched in a nine-yard touchdown run with more than 11 minutes remaining in the final quarter.
Bickelhaupt heaped praise on his running back and the big bodies up front blocking after the game.
“That kid, he’s a workhorse,” Bickelhaupt said of Smith. “He can do it all. He’s our go-to guy. He gives you 110 (percent) all the time. He’s a tough runner. He’s tough to stop. Our line is doing a good job blocking, so I was impressed.”
With the Bulldogs down 18-13 after the Smith score, Bickelhaupt said the Bulldogs were buzzing on the sideline. But Stanfield responded on the ensuing possession, as Stanfield’s Bryce Linker put the game out of reach with a 43-yard touchdown run.
Overall, Bickelhaupt said he was pleased with his team’s effort, especially considering the Bulldogs had to play kids out of position due to injuries.
“Both teams pounded the ball,” Bickelhaupt said. “It was a grinding game for both teams. Most of those kids I got — they got to play special teams, offense and defense. They’re pretty resilient and they played hard.”
Now Dayton will set its sights on Asotin, as they travel to face the Panthers Friday night.
Bickelhaupt said his team showed a lot of toughness against Stanfield and will be ready for next weekend’s tilt.
“We’re going to have a few mistakes,” Bickelhaupt said. “We’re learning, we’re getting better and we’ll just keep working hard. They’re a good bunch of kids — they respond and they’ll be fine. They were pretty upset (about) not getting a win but I was proud of them. They played hard the whole game.”
Stanfield 24, Dayton 13
Stanfield 6 6 6 6 — 24
Dayton 0 7 0 6 — 13
Stan — Linker 10 run (kick failed)
Day — Wagner 5 pass from Christian Warner
Stan — Monkus 18 run (conv no good)
Stan — Numerick 40 fumble recovery (kick failed)
Day — Smith 9 run (kick failed)
Stan — Linker 43 run (conv. no good)
First downs: 15 11
Rushes/yards 51/248 41/182
Passing yards 11 27
Passes (att-comp-int) 8-2-1 4-1-1
Punts 3/30.3 (91) 5/35 (175)
Fumbles-lost 3/3 1/1
Penalties-yards 5-40 7-35
RUSHING — Day: Smith 25-162-1. Kleck 7-26. West 2-1. Martin 1-3. Team 6-(-10); Stan: Linker 18-119-2. Aylett 15-74. Monkus 12-75-1. Team 6-(-20).
PASSING — Day: Warner: 1-4-0 5 yards 1 td. Smith 1-4-1 22 yards; Stan: Bailey 1-4-1 11 yards.
RECEIVING — Day: Wagner: 1-5-1, West: 1-22.