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Flyers begin PFL season at home
Morehead State to visit Saturday
With the out of conference portion of the schedule now out of the way, the University of Dayton football team finds itself at 1-1 after facing two teams from scholarship-granting conferences.
After the Flyers scored a go-ahead touchdown with just over a minute left in the game last week against Duquesne, the Dukes marched back down the field to take back the lead and the win.
“It was a heartbreaking loss there, last 20 seconds of a game, but you’ve got 24 hours to feel disappointed, then you’ve got to move on,” head coach Rick Chamberlin said. “Especially since it’s a league game, now you really got to move on.”
However, despite being at a disadvantage scholarship-wise, the Flyers don’t see it as an excuse.
“With a scholarship program, the players are going to be a little bigger, little faster, little stronger,” Chamberlin said. “But I never question how prepared our players are, and how hard they are going to play.”
The Flyers don’t have time to sulk about last week’s heartbreaker though, as they open up Pioneer Football League play this week against Morehead State, Saturday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m. at Welcome Stadium.
Getting off to a good start in league play is an important step if UD wants to repeat as PFL champions.
“You always want to get started off on the right foot when it comes to conference play,” Chamberlin said. “You got to get that first game in the win column if you’re going to compete for that championship at the end of the season … It’s not the end of the world if you don’t win it, but I think it gives you some momentum going into the rest of the conference games.”
Defensively the Flyers will have to improve from last week if they want to hold down Morehead State’s offense led by sophomore quarterback Zach Lewis.
Last week Lewis threw over 450 yards, the most in the Football Championship Subdivision so far this season, as the Eagles got a win over St. Francis 31-21.
“Their quarterback, he’s very good,” Chamberlin said. “He started late last season and he can do some good things, so our pass coverage is going to have to be good, and we’re going to have to get some pressure on him.”
Putting pressure on Lewis will be senior James Vercammen, who also understands the need for a big game out of the Flyer defense.
“Defense is going to have to step up,” Vercammen said. “We know our offense is going to put points on the board; they always do. It’s just a matter of executing, which we didn’t do too much of last week, and just stepping up and making stops when we need to.”
Although titles can’t be won in week three, they can be lost, and a loss Saturday would put the Flyer championship hopes in serious jeopardy.
“Two (losses) in a row would really hurt,” Vercammen said. “So you just got to make sure you bounce back.”
By Dan Vohden, Flyer News