Dayton’s Easterling wins weekly PFL award

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Highlights: Dayton football vs. Eastern Illinois

Fairborn grad makes two big plays in second half

Dayton Flyers safety Brandon Easterling picked up where he left off in 2019, recording eight tackles (four solo) in a season-opening 17-10 victory against Eastern Illinois on Saturday at Welcome Stadium. It was the first game for Dayton, which saw its 2020 season cancelled because of the pandemic, in 658 days.

» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. EIU

Easterling was named the Pioneer Football League Co-Defensive Player of the Week on Sunday along with St. Thomas defensive back Johnson Fallah.

Two years ago, the Fairborn High School graduate Easterling led the Football Championship Subdivision in solo tackles per game (7.5) and was second in total tackles (12.7).

Easterling made two key plays in the second half that led to scores Saturday. On the kickoff after Dayton’s first touchdown, he forced a fumble. Sam Schadek recovered the ball. The offense capitalized, scoring on a 1-yard run by Jack Cook with 4:38 left in the third to take a 14-3 lead.

Later in the third quarter, Easterling returned a punt 29 yards. That gave Dayton the ball at the Eastern Illinois 31-yard line and led to a 31-yard field goal by Sam Webster as Dayton extended its lead to 17-3.

Easterling, a third-team preseason All-American has big goals. He hopes to be the next Flyer to make it to the NFL. His former teammate Adam Trautman, a second-year tight end with the New Orleans Saints, caught three passes for 18 yards on Sunday in a 38-3 victory against the Green Bay Packers.

“I’m a big believer in somebody should play football or any sport as long as they can,” he said before the season. “You have one shot at it, and you can work for the rest of your life. It’s something I’ve always dreamed about, and it’s something I’m going to continue to dream about and continue to pursue with everything I got.”

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Dayton Flyers band performs at 2021 season opener on Sept. 11, 2021