PHOTOS BY LISA McGINTY | LMc Photography
Dalton’s Boyd Elett goes for the tackle.
Jaden Schlabach, Grayson Lehman and Mason McCune celebrate the close WCAL win Friday against Norwayne High School.
Dalton’s Owen Beatty.
The Bulldogs celebrate after winning the WCAL title Friday.
By ZACH McFARREN | DGKN sports writer
CRESTON In the end, it was the game that pretty much everyone expected. Two good teams, getting after it. Each taking turns throwing punches, each absorbing the best shots their opponent could throw. Punch by punch. Round by round.
This one was decided with each body blow that was delivered. When the final bell sounded, Dalton stood victorious, defeating Norwayne 30-28 and bringing the WCAL crown back home.
Initially, it looked as though Dalton may run away with this one as the Bulldogs led 14-0 after the first quarter. An Ethan Stutz (12 of 22, 225 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) to Owen Beatty 28 yard touchdown connection opened the scoring for Dalton. Then, after taking the ball over at their own five yard line, the Dawgs went 95 yards, thanks in large part to Jaden Schlabach (12 carries, 167 yards, 1 TD), who was just getting warmed up. The senior back would eventually cover 54 yards on his first touchdown of the contest, pushing the lead to 14.
All seemed well. Dalton was controlling the ball. Working the clock. Defending the run. But, as always seems to be the case, there was a second quarter. And Norwayne would announce its presence with authority.
A heavy dose of Dylan Morlock and Jake Gill carried the Bobcats through halftime. First it was Morlock, bullying his way into the end zone from four yards out. After Dalton turned the ball over on downs, Norwayne turned to Gill. A 71 yard sprint set the Cats up at the four once again, and then Gill was rewarded for his efforts when he pushed his way in for a four yard score.
After exchanging turnovers, Norwayne found itself with the ball with three and a half minutes before halftime. With 87 yards to go, the Bobcats went to work, ramming the ball into the heart of the Dalton defense. Norwayne would eventually take a 21-14 lead as the first half came to an end. Quarterback Eli Stanley found Gill in the corner of the end zone, and as the teams went to the locker rooms, all the momentum was with the Bobcats. To make matters worse, the Cats would receive the second half kick, looking to extend the lead and deliver a knockout punch of their own.
But Dalton was ready for what Norwayne dished out.