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Flyers are courteous -- until kickoff
At least the night started on a nice note.
Just before the University of Dayton football team’s game with Central State, the Marauders band director Ramon Key scaled the step ladder at the edge of the Welcome Stadium field and, baton in hand, led the UD band in the national anthem.
The courtesy was extended by his UD counterpart, Tremon Kizer, and Key appreciated it:
“We’ve got two different flavors at our schools and it’s good to mix them … And UD sounded great. That’s a really good band.”
And once Saturday night’s game began — and the hospitality ended — UD’s football team showed itself to be pretty good, too.
The Flyers overwhelmed Central State 45-13.
The fact that the game was a rout and CSU — which revived its football program six years ago after mothballing it for eight — brought along few fans made you wonder about the future of this Miami Valley rivalry.
There’s one game left on a five-year, four-game deal between the schools. It will be next year and, since CSU will be the home team, it likely will be at McPherson Stadium — where it should be.
The two schools have now played seven times — beginning with the Marauders’ only victory over UD, 28-25, in 1974 — but none of the games has been on the CSU campus.
Next season, if Marauders Athletic Director Kellen Winslow has his way, McPherson will have turf and lights.
After next year — even though fans and administrators from both schools favored the rivalry when polled Saturday night — the possibility of the neighborhood game continuing is more perilous.
UD wants to get into the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs and since its Pioneer Football League doesn’t get an automatic bid, there are three criteria the nonscholarship Flyers would have to meet to get an at-large nod, said Dayton AD Tim Wabler: “You have to play two games against FCS (Division I-AA) scholarship teams, you have to win your conference and be rated in the top 20 teams.
“With eight league games that means two of the remaining three have to be against scholarship teams. This year we have Robert Morris and Duquesne. That leaves just one game on the schedule, and the effort of the NCAA now is to play up rather than play more local games. But that said, we want to do this as long as we can.”
Assistant AD Mike Kelly said there’s a chance the PFL could get an automatic bid next season. That would come if the MEAC gives up its bid and accepts an ESPN offer to play in a bowl-type game against the Southland Conference.
Kelly hopes the rivalry continues:
“I’m impressed by what I see over there. Coach (E.J.) Junior has a plan and he’s sticking to it. This is just his second season and it’s just a matter of him getting his personnel in place. I see a lot of difference between this team and some in the past.
“Right now his team isn’t playing with a lot of confidence, but that will come once his kids get older and they really buy in … Eventually this could be a great game for our town.”
After the game, Junior agreed:
“This is good for the community and both schools. … We’re going to get better. … It’s not always going to be like this.”
By Tom Archdeacon, Dayton Daily News