Ayersville’s Dales dominant vs. Tigers

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE Seneca East's Bo Smith takes off with the ball during the game against Ayersville in Defiance Friday.

DEFIANCE — About 48 hours before his team took the field against Ayersville, Seneca East coach Ed Phillips commented about the talent of the Pilots’ quarterback, Dauson Dales.

Dales, Phillips said, had a remarkable ability to roll right in the pocket, then throw across the field with accuracy.

That talent was on full display in the Division VI first round playoff game here Friday night.

Dales completed 21 of 25 passes for 299 yards in Ayersville’s 49-0 win over the Tigers. He threw four touchdown passes to three different receivers, and ran in two more touchdowns from point-blank range.

But most impressive was Dales’ connections with receiver Jacob Miller. Miller caught eight throws from Dales — many of them where he leapt like LeBron James going for a rebound — and had two big touchdowns.

Miller finished with 159 yards receiving on the strength of TD catches from 29 and 50 yards.

“It’s been like that all year long,” said Ayersville coach Chris Dales, Dauson’s father. “These guys are like best of friends, they do everything together. They hang out together, been playing sports together. We have a lot of weapons on our team, and you gotta know where they’re all at. Those guys just hooked up and had a great game.”

Phillips said he’d seen the two work on film, and he thought his players did the best they could against them. But they were tough to stop.

“They’re quite a connection, because, really, the early scores, we played it really well,” Phillips said. “(Miller) just goes up and gets it.”

Miller may be Dales’ favorite target, but he’s far from the only one. R.J. Addington had eight catches for 111 yards and a score. Ethan Schlachter caught a 5-yard TD pass, and Kasey Williams burned the Tigers on the ground, going for 149 yards.

Dauson Dales also ran for 24 yards, but it was his arm that stood out, and his ability to throw across the field with it.

“Arm strength is what you have to have,” coach Dales said. “Not many people do that kind of stuff. We have — he has the ability to do that because of the strength of his arm. He can throw the ball 70-80 yards, no problem, so we’re able to do that, and it puts teams in a bind, because you overplay one side. We’re able to come back to that weaker side.”

Meanwhile the Tigers offense moved the ball a few times, even getting inside the Ayersville 5 in the second half, but couldn’t punch it in. Brock Martin finished with 15 carries for 45 yards. He also caught two passes for 43 yards, and completed a 39 yard pass on a trick play to usual quarterback Bo Smith.

But overall, the SE offense struggled, turning the ball over twice on a fumble and an interception.

“Kudos to our defense, all the respect to (Martin),” coach Dales said. “A tremendous athlete. We knew he was very good; we knew we had to stop him. Our whole game plan was centered around him, just because we knew how talented of a young man that was.”

Martin also intercepted Dauson Dales at the end of the first half. Earlier, he pressured the quarterback and forced a wobbly throw that was intercepted by SE linemen Brady Ferres.

The plays were bright spots in an otherwise difficult night for the Tigers, who finished 8-3 for the second-consecutive season.

“We’re frustrated it has to end this way, but for everybody but one team in every division, it ends,” Phillips said. “I told our seniors in there, they’ve done so much, so much for the school. They’ve kinda changed how things are done, how the culture of our football team … they’ve walked the halls tall and proud.”

Ayersville improves to 11-0, and recorded its first playoff victory since 2007.