Photo by Mark McDonald
The Drake Bulldogs, unbeaten in the Pioneer Football League, will challenge the San Diego Toreros on the road at 3 p.m. on Saturday. This game is sure to spark some passion; both teams are coming to the game with a 5-1 record overall and an undefeated conference record.
“We’d play them no matter what our records were, but I think that there’s conference implications,” head coach Chris Creighton said. “I mean, the winner of this is better off than the loser. But it’s not a conference championship. There’s so much more football left to be played. It’s two good teams getting after it. They have a good defense, they have a good offense and they have good special teams. They do. They’re just a really good team. It’s the best team we’ll play up to this point in the season.”
Last week, the Bulldogs made the trip all the way to Kentucky, and San Diego is not just a trip around the corner. Junior wide receiver Nick Rosa said the team is too focused to let travelling get in the way of business on the field.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect the way we play at all,” Rosa said. “We’re all really focused on away trips. We always have a great Friday practice.”
Rosa is optimistic about Drake’s game plan. When Drake and San Diego paired up last season at Johnny Bright field, he had four receptions against the Toreros’ defense and is positive about the upcoming match-up.
“San Diego’s a great team, but so are we,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be any different than any other game we’ve been playing.”
Junior Joey Orlando, another wide receiver for the Drake offense, has all three of his touchdowns this season in the past two games. He has confidence in the team’s ability.
“We’ve got to execute and do Drake football and the Drake offense,” Orlando said. “We know that they’re going to play a lot of man-to-man and try to confuse us a little bit, and we’re just going to stick to our game plan and execute.”
Orlando also said he has confidence in the team’s quarterback, senior Mike Piatkowski.
“I’ll say he is the best in the league,” Orlando said. “He can run, and he can pass. He doesn’t throw many interceptions, and he’s always making smart decisions.”
Drake and San Diego have met 18 times. Drake has won 10 of the 18 games.
Orlando knows that this game is more than just the implications for the PFL championship; it’s also a rivalry.
“Everyone wants to win the PFL, but with Drake and San Diego, it’s more than the PFL,” he said. “It’s more of a rivalry, and we had their numbers the past couple years, and other than that they got us every year before that. Drake is starting to make a stand in the conference.”
Orlando is looking forward to spending part of his fall break in California. “The last time, when we were freshman, we got to spend time on the beach, and it was a good, relaxing week off of school,” he said. “Getting out there and playing football games, there’s nothing better to do.”