Football Update: Searles Leads Flyer Football PFL Awards


By: Kenny Kirchner – Staff Writer

Several Dayton football athletes were recognized for their dedication on and off the field after completing the fall season, 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the Pioneer Football League. A total of 11 players were awarded All-PFL this year including four First Team All-PFL. Plus, six Flyers were named First Team Academic All-PFL.

Arguably the biggest award given to a Flyer was received by Christian Searles, senior cornerback and kick returner, who was awarded the Special Teams Player of the Year in the PFL’s 2017 Major Awards. The Special Teams Player of the Year honor is one of six major awards given by the league.

Searles ended the season with 825 kick return yards and had an average of 23.8 yards per kick return and 7.8 yards per punt return, both second to best in the PFL.

Additionally, Searles became the first player in PFL history to be awarded five First Team All-PFL honors in a career.  

Searles was designated First Team All-PFL cornerback and return specialist by league coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own players. Searles tallied up three First Team All-PFL awards as a cornerback and two as a return specialist.

Searles setting off to return a kick against San Diego, Sept. 30.

Sean Smith, junior punter, was awarded First-Team All-PFL for his third straight season leading the league with a Dayton record of 42.7 yards per punt in 2017.  

Senior Jack Crain, linebacker and co-captain, and Tucker Yinger, senior running back, both were awarded First-Team All-PFL for the first time in their careers after being honored Second Team and Honorable Mention.

Second Team All-PFL was presented to Ben Gauthier, junior offensive tackle, and Adam Trautman, redshirt sophomore tight end.

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Named Honorable Mention All-PFL were quarterback Alex Jeske, guard Wes Hegemann, defensive end Nick Surges, safety David Leisring and long snapper/wide receiver Matt Tunnacliffe.

The Dayton Football team also produced six First Team Academic All-PFL honorees.This is the third time for Jeske, Yinger and Crain to win First Team Academic All-PFL. Leisring was named First Team Academic All-PFL for the second time. Tim Simon and Issac Sexton were awarded First Team Academic All-PFL for the first time.

Photo Courtesy of Griffin Quinn/Staff Photographers