Flyers football preview: Consistency needed to defeat familiar face at Valparaiso

Called a “buzzsaw” by Flyers head coach Rick Chamberlin, the key play will be on the line of scrimmage against Valparaiso. Photo courtesy of Zach Merz, Flyer News.

Peter Burtnett | Sports Editor

Following a penalty-plagued 20-17 home loss to Marist, the Dayton Flyers football team will need to be more consistent against Valparaiso on the road Saturday as they face a familiar face.

That familiar face comes in the form of Beacons (1-5, 1-2 PFL) head coach Landon Fox, who served as defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Dayton from 2008-18, which was redshirt junior Zach Rumpke’s redshirt season.

“We’ll probably see him (Saturday), talk a little bit to him,” Rumpke said. “But he’s a very energetic guy, and he knows our defense and offense, but, I mean, not as much offense any more, but he knows our defense well so he’s gonna have a game plan ready for his offense.”

For Flyers (3-3, 2-2 PFL) head coach Rick Chamberlin, there is quite a bit more experience working with Fox, who coached under Chamberlin for 11 years, but it doesn’t necessarily add another layer to the matchup.

“At least from my end, I don’t know about coach Fox’s end. But for me, I’m very proud of what he’s done at Valparaiso and to go up against him here, I just know that his team will be prepared, and they’ll play with a lot of emotion.”

Chamberlin said the Beacons also play with a lot of energy.

“(Fox) keeps them up-beat. I know they don’t have the best record, but that doesn’t mean anything in the PFL. Anybody can beat another PFL team on any given Saturday, so we’re going to go up there, they’re going to be a buzzsaw, both on offense and on defense, and we just have to play our game and play more consistently.”

Chamberlin added that the Flyers have been consistent in parts of games, but aside from the 28-10 win over Drake, there were moments when the Flyers allow their opponent to have an advantage.

“You can’t give (the Beacons) any advantages because they’ll make you pay for it.”

On offense, the Beacons are led in rushing and receiving by junior running back Robert Washington, who has 103 rushes for 456 yards and 4 touchdowns, and 23 receptions for 141 yards. The Beacons average just 14.8 points per game and 278.5 total yards per game.

Defensively, the Beacons have allowed 31.3 points per game, but are led by senior linebacker Jaxon Peifer with 22 solo tackles, 4.5 for loss, 2 pass break-ups and 1.5 sacks.

Saturday’s game will kickoff at 1 p.m. at Brown Field in Valparaiso, Ind. Five PFL teams have 1 loss or fewer, so the Flyers are in need of a win to start to climb up the standings.

“I mean, on paper it looks tough for PFL championship, but you never know,” Chamberlin said. “But that doesn’t matter, what we want to do is go out every week, play the best that we can so we could end up with the best record possible, to have a good season, finish up, whether we’re PFL champions or not.”

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