Dayton scored five touchdowns and had 310 yards of offense in the first half on the way to a 43-7 victory over Valparaiso on Saturday afternoon at Welcome Stadium in Dayton, Ohio.
“We ran into a strong Dayton team today and suffered a tough loss,” head coach Stacy Adams said.
Dayton took the opening kickoff and moved down field in seven plays, scoring on Rob Florian’s one-yard quarterback sneak. After the Crusaders went three-and-out, the Flyers struck again. Florian had his pass deflected up into the air, but Nick Collins pulled the ball out of the air and went the 36 yards to make the score 14-0 Dayton with 7:21 to play in the opening quarter.
Valpo answered the drive, with a scoring strike of its own. John Popper (Dublin, Ohio/Coffman H.S.) returned the kickoff to the Crusader 42-yard line, and following a 15-yard penalty on the Flyers, started the drive on the Dayton 43. Six plays later, Warren Arnold (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein H.S.) found a streaking Desmond Lewis (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead H.S.) over the middle with 4:31 to play in the first for a 28-yard touchdown pass. The reception was the first scoring grab of Lewis’ career.
The ensuing drive saw Ben Shappie cap the first quarter scoring for Dayton with a nine-yard run around the left corner to put the Flyers back on top by 14, 21-7.
Dayton threw for 154 yards in the first quarter on the way to piling up 216 yards of total offense in the first 15 minutes compared with Valpo’s 61 yards of total offense.
After the two schools exchanged a pair of punts, Dayton’s Scott Vossler deflected a Valpo pitch and fell on the fumble at the Crusader one yard line with 5:20 to play before halftime. Three plays later, Florian threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Bart Bergfeld over the middle to increase the lead to 27-7 after the extra point was blocked.
With 1:19 to play before halftime, Florian tossed his third first half touchdown, a 20-yard slant to Nick Collins, giving Dayton a 34-7 lead at halftime.
Dayton had a very time consuming drive on its first possession of the third quarter. A 17-play, 9:02 drive was capped with a 31-yard field goal by Nick Glavin. Jeff Pechan tacked on a one-yard touchdown run with 8:14 to play.
Valpo finished the game with just 109 yards of total offense compared with 441 yards by Dayton (7-1, 4-0 PFL). Florian completed 21-of-28 passes for 270 yards.
“We need to continue to come out, play hard, and improve our passing game the rest of the season,” concluded Adams.
Sean Dillon (Oak Lawn, Ill./Mount Carmel H.S.) led Valpo with 10 tackles defensively, including one for loss.
Valparaiso (2-5, 1-3) remains on the road next Saturday as the Crusaders head to Morehead, Ky. for a 12 p.m. CDT contest against Morehead State. All of the action can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpoathletics.com.
Game Notes: Nathan Richter (Saint Peters, Mo./Lutheran H.S. of Saint Charles County) made his first collegiate start at right tackle … Tom Oswald (Cary, Ill./Cary-Grove H.S.) blocked an extra point in the second quarter for his sixth blocked kick of his career … Arnold moved past Rob Rayl (1990-1993) for fifth all-time at Valpo in total offense with 4,048 career yards … Dayton leads the all-time series 16-2 … the game took just 2:19 to play.