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Football team secures crucial win in first PFL game

THE DRAKE FOOTBALL TEAM secured their first win of the season this past weekend against Morehead State. The game is the first of eight Pioneer Football League games that the team is set to compete in this season. PHOTO BY Sarah Fey | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

On Saturday, Sept. 30, the Drake Bulldogs traveled to Kentucky to take on the Morehead State Eagles in a highly anticipated battle coming off of a Bulldog bye week.  

Less than a minute into the game, Drake’s Dorian Boyland ran the ball 64 yards into the end zone on only the second play of the game. This gave the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead that they would end up holding through the end of the first quarter. 

Moving into the second quarter, wide receiver Trey Radocha secured a pass from quarterback Luke Bailey to advance Drake’s lead to 13-0 after a blocked extra point. Not long after that, the Eagles fired back with a touchdown putting themselves on the board going into halftime but also had an unsuccessful extra point attempt. At the half, Drake was up 13-6 on the Eagles, and this lead put a spotlight on the Bulldogs hard work over the bye week.  

“Having a bye week gave us extra time to get our bodies right, and extra time to prepare for Morehead State. The two weeks of practice allowed us to resharpen our tools and essentially grow as a program, and all of our preparation showed today,”running back Javon Murry said.  

With the Bulldogs ahead going into the third quarter, the fight to keep the lead continued. As the quarter went on, the ball traveled from team to team with strong attempts across the board to put up some points. Towards the end of the quarter, however, the Eagles answered this call with a field goal that would be their last scoring play of the game. 

Now, going into the fourth quarter, Drake would battle alone for a shot at adding to its lead of 13-9. Kicker Shane Dunning would do just that with a 25-yard field goal in the last two minutes of the game to secure the win for the Bulldogs. With this field goal, the Bulldogs secured their first win of the season, and the team truly couldn’t be happier.  

“Today, it was definitely great winning that first game of the conference season. Defense played fantastic and deserves so much credit for keeping us in that game,” wide receiver Colin Howard said. “That’s 1-0, and now we [have Valparaiso University]  next week at home.” 

Knowing that this win put them on the board was a massive morale boost for the team as they’ll look towards what they did well, so they can continue it into the following weeks. 

“We had tons of energy, and we were focused. We limited the penalties that could’ve otherwise lowered our chances of winning,” Murry said. “We are 100% going to enjoy this win, but we also know we have more games to play and more games to win. The goal is to win the [Pioneer Football League] championship, and winning today is a great first step.” 

Along with great chemistry and communication, the Bulldogs were able to get a lot done on the stat sheet this game. The team netted 400 yards of total offense for the first time this season with almost half of the yards coming from Boyland who bagged 123 rushing yards, a new career-high. Radocha also caught a season-high six passes for 79 yards and caught his second touchdown reception of the season, the sixth of his career. Defensive back Caleb Bowling made five tackles as well as his first career sack. It is safe to say the Bulldogs had no shortage of accomplishments this game, and there was no shortage of hard work and dedication.   

The Drake Bulldogs will return home next week on Oct. 7 at 1:00 p.m. to kick off Family Weekend against Valparaiso University in an attempt to claim their second win of the year. 


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