August 24, 2013

QB rotation a positive for Dalton in opener

Chris Whitfield

— Neither quarterback won the position outright, and neither did anything terrible to play his way out of it. Both junior Payton Veraldi and sophomore Jase Chastain helped Dalton High School’s football team Friday night and did positive things.

It was exactly what Catamounts coach Matt Land said they would do.

And while Dalton lost 33-27 in triple overtime to Ringgold at Harmon Field, there isn’t a quarterback controversy for the Cats. Both Veraldi and Chastain will continue to play, and Land doesn’t see anything wrong with that.

“I think everyone saw what we had said all along about two guys who can help our team in a lot of ways,” Land said. “They are two guys who will work harder than anyone else over the next two weeks, and they are both key to the success of this team. They both understand what is at stake, and it is all about the team.”

Together, they combined for 183 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.

Chastain also saw spot duty at tailback, especially in overtime after starting tailback Tyler Noland was rolled up under a pile in the second overtime possession and suffered an injury to the left side of his torso.

Veraldi — who was the only quarterback Dalton used in overtime — had the more impressive yardage at the end of the night, completing 4 of 8 passes for 63 yards and rushing nine times for 70 yards and two touchdowns.

Veraldi started the game, but the two switched back and forth with each possesion until the end of regulation, when the score was tied 14-14. Chastain led the Cats on their first scoring drive in the waning minutes of the second quarter as Dalton went 41 yards, with Chastain diving in for the score as time ran out in the first half.

Veraldi gave Dalton a 14-7 lead on the Cats’ first possession of the second half, taking the team 69 yards in seven plays. However, Dalton had four illegal procedure penalties — something which occurred seven times on the night — on the drive.

“We were flowing back and forth pretty well as the game went on,” Chastain said. “We are both comfortable back there, and we really don’t feel like the team is going to miss a beat no matter who is back there. It is always whatever is best for the team and where the team needs you the most. Either way, you have to step up.”

Veraldi agreed.

“We both have the mindset that we will do whatever is best for the team,” he said. “We both have worked hard, and we will work even harder next week and get back to it.”