By: Dan Durkin – Staff Writer
The Dayton Flyers football team held their spring game this past Sunday at Welcome Stadium, marking the conclusion of spring practice. The team split up into red and white squads, with red winning by a score of 35-15. This was the final team activity until the beginning of fall practice.
The Flyers entered spring practice with confidence, but also with a chip on their shoulder. Coming off a season where they went 10-1 in the regular season and won the Pioneer Football League championship, they look to improve on an early exit in the FCS playoffs that ended their 2015 season.
Head Coach Rick Chamberlin doesn’t want his team to get complacent with last year’s success.
“Our team motto this year is ‘Still Hungry,’ I fully expect that to carry into the summer and that we will return to camp with an edge heading into the 2016 season,” he said Sunday.
The spring game started off with naming the captains that would lead the Flyers through the 2016 football season. The three senior captains voted on by their fellow teammates, are Linebacker Chris Beaschler, Tight End Ian Palin, and Center Shane Toub. This is the second year in which Beaschler was elected by his teammates to be a team captain.
“It’s a big honor and nothing I take lightly about that,” Beaschler said after the scrimmage. “To get that nod last year was a real honor, but to get it again this year means a lot.”.
Coach Chamberlin couldn’t agree more with the selection of their captains.
“Ian Palin, Shane Toub, and Chris Beaschler, they epitomize Dayton Football, they love Dayton football, all three are outstanding students in the classroom,” he said. “They are some of our hardest workers in the winter time and during the season, and they care about this program, they make sure the rest of their team understands how important the football tradition is at Dayton.”
The actual game itself was what you typically expected from a practice game, including both good and bad performances, but it was a chance for a lot of young players to get some experience in a game-like atmosphere. It also gave a chance for the team to have a competitive game after only practicing for several weeks.
The Flyers have keys players returning at key positions, chief among them being quarterback Alex Jeske, who will be the unquestioned starter this fall. He led the red team on three touchdown drives, two of which Jeske himself was responsible for. He found the end zone on a run, and again on a 50-yard pass to Wide Receiver Jack Euritt.
Although the Flyers have 15 starters returning on the offense and defense, they will look for players like Euritt to replace graduating seniors leaving the team.
As for the defense, the Flyers will look to fill the void of graduating senior Danny Leach at safety. The fifth-year senior safety Travis Nees can provide some of that experience and stability on defense.
One young player stood out to Coach Chamberlin this spring, “Adam Trautman, tight end/receiver, he shows off the kind of athletic ability he has, catching the ball, I thought he played very well,” he said.
The spring game was also a time for the incoming freshman for next year’s team to come in and get assimilated with the rest of the program. At the end of the game, each incoming freshman was introduced to their “Big Brother,” which was a current older member of the Flyer football team.
The spring game is a lot more than just practice, “We count this spring game as a celebration for the UD family,” Chamberlin added. “So that’s why it’s so good to have alums, parents, new Freshman coming in, all them being here because they are all apart the success we enjoy here and so they ought to be a part of this game.”
The Flyers will now have roughly 3 months until the beginning of fall practice.
“The biggest thing is to stay connected with team,” Beaschler said, talking about referring to the time off between spring and fall practice. He added, “We need to make sure everyone is doing what they need to be doing when they go home for the summer.”