One long wait for the Dayton Flyers football team ended Saturday. They got to play an outside opponent for the first time since Nov. 23, 2019.
Another long wait began for the Flyers after a 31-20 loss to Ashland in a scrimmage at Welcome Stadium. They will kick off the 2021 season on Sept. 4 at home against Robert Morris against Welcome Stadium. When that game arrives in less than five months, the nearly two-year wait for a game that counts will make it that much more meaningful.
“Oh man, we’re going to be starving,” senior safety Brandon Easterling said.
Dayton’s 2020 fall season was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. It practiced throughout the fall in hopes of playing in the spring, but UD decided in January to opt out of the Pioneer Football League season. Instead, the Flyers held a normal spring season with 18 practices, and it concluded Saturday.
“Usually, we finish up with a red and white intrasquad spring game,” Dayton coach Rick Chamberlin said. “That’s competitive, but it’s not the same as going against a totally different school. Our guys were looking forward to this. There was some good and bad today as you would expect in a spring game.”
Prior to the game, Dayton announced Easterling would be a team captain along with senior quarterback Jack Cook and junior running back Jake Chisholm. Senior safety Joe Bubonics will be special teams captain.
Cook threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chisholm to give Dayton a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. Ashland, a Division II program that finished 7-4 in 2019, scored the next 28 points.
Redshirt freshman Cole Dow took over at quarterback for Dayton in the second half and threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score.
“I liked what Cole did today,” Chamberlin said. “That’s what you want to see out of your backup. He showed us a few things there under game conditions.”
The star of the day may have been a tight end who didn’t play. Former Flyer Adam Trautman was honored on the field at halftime almost one year after being drafted in the third round by the New Orleans Saints. He spoke to the Flyers on the field after the game.
This was Trautman’s second visit to Dayton since his rookie season ended. He worked out in Southern California during the offseason but planned to return to New Orleans after stopping in Dayton.
“I love being able to come out here,” Trautman said. “This place means everything to me. I love coming back. Like I’ve said, I wouldn’t have changed where I went to school.”
Trautman caught 15 passes for 171 yards in one touchdown in his first season and is earning headlines as a candidate for a breakout year in 2021. His jersey now hangs in the football offices at the Frericks Center, and he remains close to his former teammates.
“He’s always a guy you can reach out to for advice on anything,” Cook said. “He loves his program. He loves the guys on his team. He enjoyed his five years here and just to see him do well really means a lot for the whole program.”
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