Dayton football team will return for 2020 season

Dayton football
Dayton football will return in 2020.

After being forced to shut down its program last season, Dayton football will return in 2020.

Dust Devils athletic director David Palmer announced earlier this week Terrance Spann would serve as the team's new head coach. Spann had served as the varsity team's linebacker coach since 2017.

Dayton was unable to field a team last season due to low turnover, which means Spann's first goal will be getting enough kids interested in joining the roster in the first place. Dayton allowed four seniors to transfer to Carson High last season but restricted underclassmen from doing so because the program expected to return in 2020.

Spann is a class of 2000 graduate of Wooster High, where he played for Joe Sellers and Tony Amantia. He's coached at the SYFL level as well. Spann replaces Steve McCarthy, who was the team's coach in 2019 before the season was canceled.

Dayton had petitioned the NIAA to drop to the 2A level, citing its enrollment of 670 students, the lowest in the 3A, but that was denied. The Dust Devils will compete in the newly realigned 3A, which will consist of two six-team leagues. Dayton's league will include Churchill County, Elko, Fernley, Lowry and Spring Creek. Churchill County and Fernley have won the last two 3A state titles.

Dayton football is 1-39 since 2015, the lone win coming in the 2017 season opener against Lincoln County, a 44-38 victory over the 2A school from Southern Nevada. Dayton has lost 19 straight games since then while being shut out in eight of those contests. The Dust Devils were out-scored 444-83 in 2018 while going 0-10.

Dayton was competitive in the 3A for a decade prior to its downturn starting in 2015. From 2004-14, Dayton went 57-55 while having a .500 record or better in six of those 11 seasons, peaking at 10-1 in 2006. The Dust Devils made it to back-to-back 3A state semifinals in 2005 and 2006.

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