By ZACH McFARREN
DGKN sports writer
The thing about this year’s Dalton football team is, it’s this year’s football team. So, let’s talk Dalton football, 2022.
Some people knock politely and let themselves in. Greyson Siders and Sammy Tomlinson, on the other hand, simply bust down the door and help themselves to whatever they please. The two running backs started the year with a bang scoring six times, including five rushing touchdowns, leading Dalton to a 42-13 thrashing of host East Canton.
On Dalton’s first drive of the season, the offense needed just 7 plays to go 40 yards. Junior receiver Cade Mullet extended the drive with a nifty catch and run on third down, allowing Siders (10 rushes, 132 yards, 3 TD, 2 receptions, 110 yards, 1 TD) to go in for a seven yard score. Five minutes later, Siders was at it again, this time going in from two yards out.
Dalton’s defense was in mid season form, limiting the Hornets to just nine plays in the first quarter. East Canton went three and out on their first three possessions, and the Dawgs capitalized each time.
With just 51 seconds left in the first quarter, Dalton took the ball at their own 35 yard line. 13 seconds later, Dalton was up 21-0 as Colin Pearson (5 for 12, 128 yards 1 TD) hit Siders in stride up the seam for a 65 yard touchdown.
After a single quarter of play, Dalton was showing that a new year brought with it some familiar results.
Coach Broc Dial was pleased with what he saw.
“We played well and (played) good football at times. We need to continue to focus on improving and becoming more consistent,” Dial said following the game.
The Dawgs gave Dial the consistency he was looking for as the second quarter was much the same as the first.
After an East Canton 23 yard touchdown completion, Dalton wasted no time in getting those points back. This time, it was Tomlinson (9 carries, 133 yards, 2 TD) who lit up the scoreboard. The sophomore back broke through the line and outran the Hornets defense on his way to a 31 yard TD. On East Canton’s next possession, Dalton’s Cade Miller, who was a perfect 6 for 6 on PATs, recovered a Hornet fumble on the 46 yard line. From there, Siders tore through the East Canton defense, going 37 yards for his fourth touchdown of the contest.
At half, Dalton had a comfortable 35-7 lead. The Dawgs would get the ball first in the third quarter, and Tomlinson would make sure that he had the final say in the game. On the fourth play of the second half, Tomlinson went 62 yards putting Dalton up 42-7, and per OHSAA rules, the clock began to run continuously.
East Canton scored late in the fourth quarter, but it was far too little, far too late. Dalton looked solid in all three phases of the game, and as Bulldog fans have come to expect, the Dawgs were disciplined, fast, tough, and well, really good.
Sure, it’s somewhat of a new cast for Dalton. But as they say, numbers don’t lie. 555 yards of total offense. A defense that allowed just 195 yards. Perfect execution on special teams. This is their team, and based on what we saw Friday night, we will have a lot to talk about during the 2022 season.