Coming into their Friday Night Week 7 football match-up Oct. 7, the host Dalton Bulldogs were a heavy favorite against a winless Waynedale team.
The Golden Bears hung around early, but once Dalton senior running back Cody Fitzwater got his engine revving, there was no stopping a Bulldogs team that has its sights set on finishing strong to bolster its playoff hopes.
Fitzwater ripped off three gigantic scoring runs in the first 12 minutes of play, and the Bulldogs went on to record an impressive 55-0 victory.
“We went out and made plays, which was nice to see,” said Dalton coach Broc Dial. “We were fortunate early on. Waynedale came out and played us pretty tough early. Our kids just kept playing football down after down, which is something we preach here.”
How to Go 55
Putting up the speed limit is not easy, but the Bulldogs made it look simple enough. Here is how the Bulldogs scored 55 points.
TD 1: Fitzwater gained 38 yards then romped 39 yards to pay-dirt. 7-0
TD 2: Fitzwater found a hole and outraced everyone on an 80-yard romp. 14-0
TD 3: Fleet-footed Fitz raced 40 yards around the left end for his third score at 8:55 in the second quarter. 20-0
TD 4: Kenton Troyer plunged in from 1-yard out. 27-0
TD 5: Dominic Dalessandro rolled, scoring from 42 yards out. 34-0
TD 6: Spencer Horst hammered his way in from a yard out. 41-0
TD 7: Fitzwater turned on the jets from 52 yards. 48-0
TD 8: Troyer found the end zone again, this time from 18 yards. 55-0
That is how you get up to speed.
New Start, Fresh Start
Last season Dalton was 1-9, and had to fight through some serious growing pains. This team grew up pretty quickly, however, and now at 5-2, have a shot at a playoff spot.
According to Fitzwater, a new year means a new start to everything.
“It’s a new mindset,” said Fitzwater. “We just have to block that out (last year) and focus on this year. It’s a new start, fresh start, and focus on each game as it comes.”
There is Hope in the Above
Waynedale is going through a season much like Dalton did last year. At 0-7, the Golden Bears are just trying to get through this year, and learn in the process. Head coach Matt Zuercher said there is little value in feeling sorry for themselves, they simply need to continue to work at the game.
“Give Dalton a lot of credit,” Zuercher said. “They are coming off a year very similar to what we are going through. Those guys went back to work, they had some injuries last year, they got guys back, worked hard and they are playing good football. That’s not easy to do. Now, our guys have to keep battling for 48 minutes, and enjoy every minute you’re out there. We’ve got some guys who are being baptized by fire right now, but you coach them up and they are going to come back next year 10 months better. But you don’t get 10 months better in a week.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger may have made a movie with the above title, but Cody Fitzwater was the real Running Man.
The powerful senior totaled 301 yards on 14 carries, but it was more about the 233. That was the number of yards he had racked up with 8:55 left to play in the SECOND QUARTER!
That is an alarming number of yards, and included touchdown romps of 67, 80 and 46 yards. You know you’re having a night to remember when you get stuffed and held to an eight yard pick-up.
The Good Hands Guys
With Waynedale setting its sights on creating a comeback, a pair of Dawgs picked off passes to make sure that didn’t happen. Evan Hershberger and Tyler Butler both came up with sticky-finger snags to foil Bears drives.
Senior-itis Strikes Golden Bears
With just four seniors on its team, Waynedale doesn’t have a ton of experience and it relies on the seniors for leadership. With Kyle Ice already on the shelf with a tendon issue in his hand. The Bears suffered more devastating injuries, as their seniors were sent to the sideline. Colten Purdy and Matt Zimmerly both went out of the game, and Cole Geiser has been playing with a broken hand.
“We had four seniors when we started (the year) and finished the game with about half a senior,” Zuercher said. “There was a point where weren’t not going to put them back out there, even though they wanted to go back in. Their well being is first and foremost.”
Line ‘em Up, Knock ‘em Down
The Bulldogs ran rampant all night, and on many of their big runs, their backs were not even touched. Give credit where credit is due. Fitzwater did.
“It feels good having your linemen make holes that that to run through,” said Fitzwater. “All you have to do is follow your blockers and they’ll lead the way.”
Adrian Dixon, Landry Amstutz, Cole Boggs, Nate Nussbaum, Cole Geiser, Nate Basinger blew open some huge holes for their running game, and it made this victory an easy one for the Bulldogs.
“Those guys have been working hard to get more physical and get a hat on hat and do the little things you have to do to be a good offensive line,” said Dial.
“It makes me feel good, but we know these last three weeks we have to keep pushing harder and harder,” said Geiser.