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Flyers Upset on Senior Day by Morehead State
DAYTON — Quarterback Evan Sawyer bounced around afterward like a jubilant game-show contestant.
Offensive tackle Chris Setters, a 6-foot-8, 340-pound mountain of a man, grabbed an assistant coach and wrapped him in a bear hug.
Those two area high school products — Sawyer went to Jefferson and Setters to Fairborn — helped Morehead State stun their hometown team, pulling off a 14-13 upset of the University of Dayton on Saturday, Nov. 15, to snap the Flyers’ 12-game winning streak in the Pioneer Football League and keep them from clinching a share of the conference title.
And while the game was played in cold, wet, miserable conditions — only 2,596 spectators showed up for Senior Day, the smallest crowd of the year — Sawyer and Setters didn’t mind staying out just a little longer in the elements to savor the program’s third straight victory over UD.
“It was nasty, it was cold. But we came to play and play to win,” said Sawyer, who fired the game-winning touchdown pass with 5:46 to go.
Setters is UD coach Rick Chamberlin’s nephew (his sister Lisa’s son) and now has another reason to gloat at family gatherings.
“Thanksgiving is coming up, and I can’t wait,” he said.
Hampered by the chill and rain, and missing their injured starting quarterback, the Flyers handled the ball as if it were lathered in butter. They began their first possession with two errant shotgun snaps, the second of which resulted in a safety.
Passes fluttered, and handoffs were slow and methodical.
Even the coaches had trouble getting blood to flow to their hands.
“I came in at halftime, and I could hardly write or draw things. I had to stop,” Chamberlin said. “I can’t imagine (what it was like) for them.”
UD started last week’s hero, Jeff Pechan, at quarterback, but Chamberlin put shifty receiver Steve Valentino at the position after two series in the hopes of bolstering the ground game. The move didn’t work, though.
The Flyers scored on an 11-yard Ben Shappie run and a Kevin Burns blocked punt and 20-yard return in the first quarter, but the offense finished with just 75 total yards.
A botched handoff led to a fumble that gave the Eagles (5-6, 3-4 PFL) a gift TD. And with the Flyers (9-2, 6-1) unable to muster any offense, its normally unyielding defense finally cracked on Sawyer’s 39-yard bomb to Nick Feldman.
“(The ball) was tough to handle,” Valentino said. “It was slick. You didn’t have an answer — gloves, no gloves. They just did a better job handling their opportunities.”
The Flyers can still claim the PFL crown by winning on the road against league co-leader Jacksonville (8-3, 6-1) on Saturday.
“We’re good, and we’re not going to allow one game to deflate us,” Chamberlin said. “We still have a shot at the league. We just made it harder on ourselves.”
Florian wins Zulli
Rob Florian was awarded the 53rd Andy Zulli Memorial Trophy, which honors a Flyer senior for his sportsmanship and character.
The Cincinnati native is the team’s starting QB but has missed the last two games with a fractured right thumb.
Flyers upset on Senior Day
By Doug Harris, The Dayton Daily News