By: Dan Durkin – Staff Writer
The Flyers took on Valparaiso University Saturday at Welcome Stadium, defeating the visitors 42-19.
The Flyers got off to a strong start on offense, scoring on their first possession of the game and then once again to take a quick 14-0 lead off a Valparaiso special team’s turnover. The Flyers ran the ball 42 times for 238 yards, while accumulating four touchdowns.
Redshirt senior running back J.J. Greenwood attributed the running success to the play of the offensive line.
“We had to stick behind our blocks and trust in our o-line,” he said. “We can’t give those guys enough credit upfront.”
Greenwood and fellow senior running back Connor Kacsor led the Flyers in rushing against Valparaiso, accounting for 29 carries for 174 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
The Flyers defense was also a key to the Flyers victory against Valparaiso, and more specifically, the red zone defense.
Valparaiso reached the red zone twice in the first half and the defense forced the visitors into two field goals, limiting the damage.
Junior safety Danny Leach said the unit realized coming into the game that they had to improve the team’s red zone defense.
“It was one thing that we wanted to focus on because our red zone defense has struggled,” Leach said. “We’ve been playing good defense, but when it got to the red zone, we struggled.”
In the second half, the defense was able to force three interceptions, leading to a cushion for the Flyers on the scoreboard.
“The coaches came in at halftime and made some adjustments and focus on those things in the second half… get turnovers, and that really changed the momentum of the game,” Leach said.
“We finished today,” head coach Rick Chamberlin said. “Valpo battled back… we’ve done this all year, when a team pushes us, we’ve been able to respond all year and finish well.”
Chamberlin also was pleased with the passing game.
“We made some nice pass plays, deep pass plays and completed pass plays, because Valpo was starting to crowd the line of scrimmage trying to stop the run,” Chamberlin said.
Redshirt senior quarterback Will Bardo finished 11-18 passing for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Chamberlin was worried about how the wind would factor into the team’s offensive production.
“I was concerned because we were going into the wind and we were debating what would we do. I didn’t think it would be that big of a factor, so we went with our normal plan, in deferring and going into the wind.”
The Flyers are undefeated at home this year, a perfect 4-0.
Leach credited practicing at Welcome Stadium as a contributing factor to the team’s success at home.
The Flyers have three regular season games left, and Chamberlin wants to see his team continually improve over that span.
“We have to continue to keep doing the same things we’ve been preaching since game one,” Chamberlin said. “We need to win the turnover battle. We can’t turn the ball over and we have to force turnovers.”
The Flyers will take on Drake Saturday Nov. 8 at Welcome Stadium in another Pioneer Football League match up. The Flyers are currently third in the PFL.