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2009 Outlook The Drake football team looks to ride the momentum of a strong finish from the 2008 campaign when it won four of its last five games with the only blemish occurring at league champion Jacksonville. The optimism is generated by the return of 35 lettermen, including 15 starters from last year’s squad, which posted a 6-5 record. “I feel good about the direction we’re headed,” said secondyear Drake head coach Chris Creighton. “It took a full year for us to establish our program. The momentum we started to build in the winter continued through spring drills. Everyone is on the same page and we’re having fun.” Creighton also feels leadership from a 12-man senior class, including 11 fifth-year players, has the Drake program charted on the right course. “I can tell you that they (seniors) are very hungry. They have a vision and they have off-season goals which they have pursued,” Creighton added. “I really feel chemistry will be our main strength. We have Ninety-eight players who are all on the same page and going in the same direction. When you have like-minded people together who are pursuing a single-minded purpose, you have fun.” On the field, Drake’s strength will lie on defense with 17 lettermen back from a unit which ranked second in the Pioneer Football League in scoring defense last year, allowing 17.9 points. The Bulldogs feature a balanced defensive line, returning five veterans who started at least one game last year. Senior defensive end Andrew Asbell, who is back for his fourth year as a starter, hopes to regain the form from 2007 when he was named to The Sports Network Mid-Major AllAmerican team. Senior Dain Taylor returns after starting 10 games at defensive end and is waged in fierce competition with senior Josh Walkup. Senior Sean Kitts was a fixture at tackle, starting all 11 games last year, while 6-foot 6-inch sophomore Dave Witkiewicz should continue to improve at nose guard. Returning in their third year as starters are seniors Ben Morrison and Cale Hunt who form one of the best inside
Sophomore Patrick Oliver
2009 Bulldog Personnel — A Closer Look Lettermen Returning (35) Offense (17) — Andrew Blackmon, WR; Mason Bucklin J-Back; Spencer Cady, WR; Pat Cashmore, RB; Dan Clinton, OL; Stephen Flynn, OT; Tom Kostek, RB; Travis Klatt, TE; Evan Lawrence, OL; Quinn McVey, OC; Eric Mora, OL; Patrick Oliver, RB; Gus Olofsson, J-Bck; Steve Platek, J-Back; Frank Pucher, TE; John Pugh, OL; Will Yocius, TE. Defense (17) — Andrew Asbell, DT; Skye Buckner-Petty, DB; Nick Chenier, DB; Jeff Grovak, LB; Stoy Hall, LB; Matt Hancock, DB; Cale Hunt, LB; Sean Kitts DE; Mike Lahart, DB; John Meehan, DE; Ben Morrison, LB; Lucas Mosier, DB; Jim Nelson, LB; Dain Taylor, DE; John Van Cleave, DB; Josh Walkup, DE; David Witkiewicz, DL. Specialists (1) — Brandon Wubs, P. Returning Starters (19) Offense (10) — Spencer Cady, FL; Patrick Cashmore, RB; Dan Clinton, OT; Stephen Flynn, OG; Quinn McVey, OC; Eric Mora, OG; Patrick Oliver, RB; Stephen Platek, J-Back; Frank Pucher, TE; John Pugh. OT. Defense (8) — Andrew Asbell, DE; Skye Buckner-Petty, DB; Matt Hancock, CB; Cale Hunt, LB; Sean Kitts, DE; Ben Morrison, LB; Josh Walkup, LB; Dain Taylor, DE; David Witkiewicz, NG; Specialists (1) — Brandon Wubs, P.
linebacker combinations in the PFL. Morrison led the Pioneer Football League in tackles in 2007 and is the team’s top returning tackler after collecting 55 tackles last season. Hunt was Drake’s leading tackler through four games last season before being sidelined for the remainder of the year with an elbow injury. Fifth-year senior safety Skye Buckner-Petty, a three-year letterwinner, and cornerbacks Matt Hancock and Lucas Mosier lead the secondary. Hancock started in three games last year, while Mosier is a two-year letterwinner. “I’m excited about Morrison and Hunt playing inside linebacker for us,” Creighton added. “We have great depth and chemistry on the defensive line which has the potential to be dominant.” Drake will encounter growing pains early in the season at quarterback where a trio with no previous college experience is in competition for the starting role. Sophomores Peter Badovinac and Mike Piatkowski emerged ahead of sophomore Pawel Zurkowski at the conclusion of spring drills. “Badovinac is tough, bright and a strong leader,” said Creighton. “Piatkowski throws a beautiful ball and has a high football IQ. Zurkowski is not as far along as the other two but he has a huge upside and continues to get better.” Creighton looks for the continuing emergence of senior j-back Steve Platek and an offensive line, led by fifth-year seniors Eric Mora and Quinn McVey, to ease the transition at quarterback. Platek was the lone Drake player to earn first-team AllPioneer Football League honors last year after scoring seven touchdowns. He is the team’s top returning receiver after catching 41 passes for 468 yards last year, including four touchdowns. Mora will enter his third year as starting right guard, while McVey is a fixture at center. Sophomore Stephen Flynn, who started four games last year, will return at left guard. Senior John Pugh and junior
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football | 09 2009 Outlook
Josh Walkup, David Witkiewicz and Andrew Asbell are top veterans on defense.
Dan Clinton, who each started four games last year, are in a bafttle with sophomore Evan Lawrence for starting berths at both right and left tackle. Sophomore Patrick Oliver and juniors Pat Cashmore and Tom Kostek return at running back. Oliver led Drake in rushing with 332 yards in 74 carries (4.5 avg.) with three touchdowns. Cashmore galloped for 290 yards in eight games. Kostek had the best rushing average at 5.4 yards with 141 yards in 26 carries. Fifth-year seniors Spencer Cady and Travis Bogaard will share split end duties. Cady caught 26 passes for 447 yards (17.2 avg.). Tight end also will be solid with the returning of fifth-year seniors Frank Pucher, Will Yocius and Travis Klatt. Sophomore Drew Blackmon emerged in spring drills as the heir apparent at flanker where graduation claimed Zach Brower, the team’s top receiver last year. “When you look back at last year, offensively we didn’t produce points like we needed to,” said Creighton. “That is something we have addressed and we will continue to try to improve upon.” Drake special teams will be headed by fifth-year senior punter Brandon Wubs, who earned second-team all-league honors last year after averaging a career best 40.4 yards per punt. Wubs also will battle senior Mitch Rasmussen, junior Bill Janssen and freshman Michael Pelikan for the place kicking chores, vacated by the graduation of three-year starter Logan Rees. Oliver is back handling kickoff returns after averaging 22.2 yards last year. He also will compete with Blackmon and Michael Lahart in handling punt returns. Snappers Stoy Hall and John Pugh return. All-PFL performer Stephen Platek
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