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Two leaders of the University of Dayton’s 2002 NCAA I-AA Mid-Major national championship team – quarterback Kelly Spiker and linebacker Tyler Bowersock -- have been named the Honorary Captains for Sunday’s annual Spring Football Game. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET, and will be preceded by youth football clinic beginning at 11 a.m. ET. Both events are free and both will be held at Welcome Stadium.
The 2002 Flyer football team finished the year 11-1, winning the Pioneer Football league’s North Division with a perfect 4-0 record. After shutting out PFL South Division champion Morehead State 28-0 in the PFL championship game, Dayton was named Mid-Major national champions by the Football Gazette as the top NCAA I-AA non-scholarship football team.
Spiker was MVP of that team and the PFL Offensive Player of the Year. A graduate of Chaminade-Julienne High School in Dayton, Spiker is third at UD in career total offense (5,138 yards) and career QB rating (149.8). He is ninth in career rushing and first among quarterbacks with 2,059 yards, a 5.4 yards-per-carry average and 28 touchdowns. Spiker lives in Richmond, Va., where he works for KARL STORZ, a medical technology firm.
Bowersock was a team captain and leader of a defense that allowed a touchdown or less in six games in 2002. The 28-0 result in the PFL championship game was one of four shutouts turned in by the Dayton defense that season. The two-time First Team All-PFL selection was UD’s second-leading tackler in 2002, with 84 hits, seven passes broken up and two fumbles forced. The Lancaster, Ohio native now is a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Roanoke, Va., where he operates University Physical Therapy.
The game will consist of four eight-minute quarters, with limited special teams activity. There will be live field goal and PAT attempts, but no tackling on kickoffs and all punts must be fair caught.
At the coin flip before the game, the 2012 team captains will be announced. In addition, two participants in the free youth football camp have their name drawn to serve as honorary captains.
At halftime, UD’s academic support team will be recognized for their efforts to keep the flyers among the academically top performing teams in the country. A school-record 74 Flyer football players were named to the PFL Academic Honor Roll last season, giving UD the most on the honor roll for the 17th time in the 19-year history of the league. The Dayton football program has produced 22 Academic All-Americans since the 2000 season. That's the most by any school at any level of college football.
As in the past, the end of the game will in some ways begin the 2012 season, as members of UD’s incoming recruits who are in attendance (between 20 and 25 are expected) will join their new teammates on the field. They will be paired up with their “Big Brothers,” the veterans who will shepherd them through their first few weeks of Flyer football.
The Spring Game will be broadcast live on Newstalk 1290 WHIO Radio, and streamed at www.DaytonFlyers.com. Coach Chamberlin will join Flyer play-by-play announcer Larry Hansgen in the booth to provide commentary during the game.
Chamberlin says the team is ready for Sunday’s game. "I’m pleased with the progress we have made this spring. The purpose of spring practice is to become a better football player. And it’s important that our players not only improve their techniques, but also improve mentally in every facet of the game. Every time we step on the field it’s an opportunity for us to take a step forward, and I think as a program we have done that.”