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The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Bulldogs look back on terrific championship season

The Drake Bulldog football team has had an amazing journey throughout the year. They began their season in May, with an adventure of a lifetime to Africa. There they played the first American football game ever in the continent of Africa. “Tupande kileleni” has been the mantra for the football players after their journey in the Kilimanjaro Bowl. This is a Swahili phrase that means, “Let’s climb to the summit.”

Drake has climbed to the summit of the Pioneer Football League arena and reached the mountain peak. Their season came to a victorious end with the conclusion of Saturday’s game.

The Bulldogs finished the season with a 9-2 record overall and a 7-1 record during conference play. They did not lose a single game at Drake Stadium and have won ten consecutive games home games dating back to the 2010 season.

Head coach Chris Creighton highlighted his feelings about the season after the win on Saturday.

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“I don’t know if it could feel any better. I am so proud of our football team and more than that, our football program that was started long before I was ever born,” Creighton said. “To be a part of this place and the football tradition and to be able to do something special with guys we came in with, it’s an awesome feeling.”

Throughout the season, the Bulldog players have been continually recognized for their performances, both on and off the field. The Pioneer Football League has recognized six players as Players of Week and some were recognized on multiple occasions. Fifth-year senior Patrick Cashmore, fifth-year senior Billy Janssen, senior Tyler Moorehead, senior Nathan Paddock, senior Mike Piatkowski and junior Brandon Coleman garnered recognition by the PFL throughout the season.

“It felt good, like that four-and-a-half years really paid off. I knew we were going to be able to do it, I just didn’t know when. It was all worth it after I lifted it up and kissed that baby. It’s here in Des Moines, where it belongs,” Cashmore said.

Eight different Bulldogs were also recognized by the College Football Performance Awards: fifth-year senior Michael Lahart, senior Drew Blackmon, senior John Sawhill, Coleman, Janssen, Moorehead, Piatkowski and Paddock.

Record-breaking was also at an all-time high for Piatkowski, who continually moved up the career passing chart set by former Bulldog greats. Piatkowski still has one more season to claim the number one spot.

Three Bulldogs  also received awards for their off-the-field achievements. Lahart and Moorehead were recognized for their excellence in the classroom. Fifth-year senior Stoy Hall was recognized for his community service and will be honored at the 2012 Sugar Bowl.

Lahart serviced the team as the year-long captain.

“I am definitely one of many leaders on this team. Being a single captain was a great honor, but I couldn’t have done it without the entire group of fifth-year seniors, it was really a team effort. Like Jim Nelson, Stoy Hall, Pat Cashmore, Steve Flynn in specific were just amazing,” Lahart said. “There are a lot of things that I’m not as good at as they are and they really stepped it up and took the team on their shoulders as well. It was a whole team effort.”

The PFL championship is decided by whichever team possesses the best conference record. Because the PFL does not offer scholarships for its players, they do not get an automatic bid into the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). A team from the PFL would have to be ranked in the top 25 to be considered for an at-large bid.

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