Steve Wirkus returned this interception 35 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
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DAYTON, Ohio – Red prevailed 7-2 over White in the University of Dayton’s annual Spring Football game Sunday at Welcome Stadium. Winds gusting up to as much as 40 mph impacted the game on both sides, but Flyer head coach Rick Chamberlin also thought the Dayton defense had as much to do with the low-scoring affair.
“The wind today was a factor in keeping our quarterbacks from getting a rhythm to our offense,” Chamberlin said, “but I thought our defenses played very well, especially our secondary players.”
Chamberlin joined Flyer play-by-play announcer Larry Hansgen in the booth to provide commentary during the game on Newstalk 1290 WHIO Radio.
Before the game, the Flyers announced their 2011 captains – defensive end Devon Langhorst and offensive tackle Dan Prindle.
Both captains are fifth-year senior. Langhorst was a First Team All-Pioneer Football League selection in 2010. The Sidney, Ohio native led the Flyers and was second nationally in sacks (14) and was second on the team in tackles (77). Prindle, a Carroll High School graduate from Fairborn, is a three-year letterwinner and two-year starter at right tackle for the Flyers. Off the field, he was a member of the 2010 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
“I think Devon and Dan are outstanding choices to be captains,” Chamberlin said. “I’m sure when the team voted after our last practice on Saturday, there were a lot of tough choices because we have many good leaders in this senior class. But Devon and Dan stood out in the voting.
Former Flyer standouts Larry Nickels and Jackie Green served as honorary coaches. The game consisted of four eight-minute quarters.
The game was live contact, except for the quarterbacks, and the White team gave new meaning to the “quarterback safety rule” to get on the board first.
After a scoreless first quarter, White was stopped on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line. Red took over backed up against its own end zone. On the first play of the possession, quarterback Will Bardo picked up a low snap and ran around end, but he was ruled down when he was touched by a defender in the end zone, giving White a 2-0 lead.
Red scored the only touchdown of the day when safety Steve Wirkus returned an interception 35 yards for a score. Nate Miller’s PAT made the score 7-2. White moved the ball down the field, but a 33-yard field goal attempt by Pat Sankovic as time ran out was just wide.
In the second half, both teams continued to struggle offensively, but White was able to punch enough holes in the win to have another long drive stopped at the one-yard-line, a drive that began in the third quarter and ended in the fourth. On its last possession, White was able to get the ball to midfield, but was stopped with just over a minute to play, and Red ran out the clock.
Four different quarterbacks played for both teams, but the one who stood out statistically was redshirt freshman Zachary Splain , who was 12-for20 passing for 185 yards on the day. The other three QB’s were six of 18 for 73 yards and two interceptions.
Junior Luke Bellman led all receivers with five catches (for 62 yards). Junior running back Brian Mack had three receptions for 73 yards.
At halftime, 2010 captain Joe Ries represented his teammates in a ring ceremony honoring the Flyers’ 2010 Pioneer Football League Championship Team. Other members of the team received their championship rings following the game in the Donoher Center.
After the game concluded, the newest Flyers, approximately 25 UD signees, joined their new teammates on the field and were paired up with their “Big Brothers,” the veterans who will shepherd them through their first few weeks of Flyer football.
The Flyers also announced their 2011 game schedule. All Dayton games in 2011 will be played on Saturday afternoons. There will be five home games and six road games.
UD will open the season on Saturday, Sept. 3 at Robert Morris. The team’s home opener will be the following weekend against Duquesne. The only other non-conference game will be on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Central State.
The Flyers’ quest for a third straight PFL title will begin on Saturday, Sept. 17 when Marist visits Welcome Stadium. UD will host league foes Butler (Oct. 1), Davidson (Oct. 15) and San Diego (Nov. 5). Dayton will play road PFL games at Jacksonville (Oct. 8), Morehead State (Oct. 22), Valparaiso (Oct. 29) and Drake (Nov. 12).