By: Dan Durkin – Staff Writer
The Dayton Flyers football team will look to end its regular season undefeated as it takes on the Drake Bulldogs Saturday at 2 p.m. in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Flyers (10-0, 7-0 PFL) will take on a Drake team that is 4-6 on the season, but the Bulldogs will be looking to try and spoil the Flyers’ perfect record. The Flyers will look to continue their regular season momentum into the playoffs.
Credit is usually given to the guys who play the positions like quarterback, running back, linebacker or defensive back. But some of the Flyers unsung heroes are the guys who play in the trenches, like the offensive and defensive lineman. These have been two groups that have been steady all year, some having to adapt to rough circumstances but still thriving when it counted.
The leader of the defensive line for the Flyers is senior defensive tackle Austen Alber. Coming off such an emotional victory last week, some may worry about the team losing focus. Though, Alber has a different view.
“Being a fifth-year, you got only a few games left. Each one sort of has a lot of emotion riding on it because you don’t know when it’ll be your last game,” Alber said. “As a team, everyone is focused—all everyone is talking about is Drake. We want to finish out strong and finish 11-0.”
Senior offensive tackle Zac Morgan shares the same sentiments.
“Everyone is extremely focused this week,” Morgan said. “We’re playing a good Drake team, which we’ve had problems with in the past. It’s a tough place to play, and everyone is focused, excited and recharged and ready to go.”
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Morgan pointed out a couple of things he thinks his unit will need to do to succeed against the Bulldogs.
“Intensity, execution and do what we do best: flat-out dominate them on every play and get after it,” Morgan said.
It will take a little more intensity this week, with it being the last home game for the Drake seniors. From a defensive standpoint, Alber sees the game a similar way.
“They’re a great team,” Alber said. “It’s very tough to win up there. They have a lot of great players. They have a great quarterback. Their offensive line is big. It’ll take another great week of practice, and our coaches preparing us like they’ve had all season.”
Dayton head coach Rick Chamberlin knows the challenges in trying to refocus a team after coming off such an emotional win last weekend.
“We celebrated the Marist win for 24 hours, then Sunday night all we talked about was Drake,” Chamberlin said. “Our young men have a goal here. They’re 10-0 right now, and they [would] like to be one of the few teams in Dayton’s history to go 11-0.”
Chamberlin knows how much of challenge it will be facing Drake this weekend.
“They are a really physical team, especially on defense, big and long individuals that can really hurt you with their size,” Chamberlin said.
Chamberlin’s key to overcoming this is pretty simple.
“We just need to go out and play a nice sound game, fundamentally sound game, and make plays like we need to and just try and come back with a victory,” Chamberlin said.
The Flyers will be keeping their eyes on other games across the country to see which team they might be facing in the playoffs, but the team will have to focus on this week’s game if they want to finish this regular season 11-0.