Valparaiso, Ind. - Ben Winters caught three touchdown passes as Dayton defeated Valpo 52-3 in the Crusaders' Homecoming game. Adam Hudak accounted for Valpo's points with a 42-yard field goal in the second quarter. The victory was Dayton head coach Mike Kelly's 200th of his career.
Dayton's Cliff Sachini led all rushers with 104 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries, while Geno Mattioda rushed for two scores.
The Pioneer Football League game was scoreless for over seven minutes of the first quarter until Winters made a 30-yard touchdown reception from Kelly Spiker. The Flyers increased their lead to 10-0 in the second quarter on a 47-yard field goal by Jesse Obert.
The Crusaders (0-6, 0-2 PFL) responded with an 11-play, 55-yard drive then ended with Hudak's field goal. The key play on the drive was a 34-yard pass from David Macchi to Casey Liddle. Macchi gained 35 yards on four carries during the possession.
Dayton (5-1, 2-0 PFL) opened up a 24-3 lead during a 53-second span late in the second quarter. Winters hauled in a 26-yard touchdown pass from Spiker with a 3:26 left in the quarter. On Valpo's second play on the ensuing possession, Aaron Furman intercepted a deflected Macchi pass in the right flat and scampered 20 yards for a touchdown.
The Flyers extended their advantage to 38-3 with two more touchdowns during a two-and-a-half minute stretch in the third quarter. Mattioda ran for a 22-yard score to complete a 13-play, 66-yard drive. Following a Crusader punt, Dayton struck on its first play when halfback Tony Hurps connected with Winters on a 46-yard touchdown off an option pass. Mattioda added a three-yard scoring run and Sachini concluded the scoring with a 15-yard sprint in the fourth quarter.
Dayton amassed 457 total yards to 130 for Valpo. The Flyers finished with 255 rushing yards and 202 passing yards. Macchi completed nine of 21 passes for 103 yards with one interception. Spiker, who rushed for 44 yards on 13 carries, completed nine of 16 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
Greg Sommersberger and Ryan Barno led the Crusaders with three receptions each. Valpo's defense sacked Dayton quarterbacks five times. Valpo linebackers Kevin Rivera and Kris Hardaway were each involved in two sacks. Strong safety John Tsahas and linebacker Lawrence Canada topped Valpo with 13 tackles each.
Valpo will host Davidson next Saturday (Oct. 19) at noon.