Things couldn’t have started more startlingly better for the Presbyterian offense Saturday at Bailey Memorial Stadium.
But the ending was all too familiar for the Blue Hose who were overpowered by Dayton 52-28 under cloudy skies that delivered occasional rain showers on the Pioneer Football League matchup.
The Blue Hose answered an 11-play, 65-yard Flyers touchdown drive with a quick hit – a 75-yard touchdown catch and run by freshman wideout Dominic Kibby from Nate Hayden on PC’s first offensive play from scrimmage to tie the game at 7-7.
Kibby, who had a career-best 212 yards and three touchdowns on 7 catches, made big plays throughout the contest, but it wasn’t enough.
“We had several plays within our first 11 plays that had chances to be big plays, and we just kind of got behind the 8-ball,” said first-year PC head coach Steve Englehart.
Dayton made sure the Blue Hose stayed there, dominating field position by averaging over 20 yards per kickoff return and blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown as PC’s hopes began to fall apart in the first quarter.
“One of the battles we talked about was field position,” Englehart said. “Our defense was at a big-time disadvantage all game for a variety of different reasons, whether it be kickoff returns or punt returns, a turnover or different things.”
From there, Dayton (7-2 overall, 5-1 PFL) scored the next four touchdowns, taking a 35-7 lead on Michael Neel’s 8-yard touchdown run with 1:19 left in the first half.
Kibby, who had a career best 7 catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns, scored his second of the day on a 63-yard strike from Tyler Wesley with 36 seconds left before halftime.
Wesley and Kibby connected again on a 31-yard touchdown pass with 13:16 left in the game, but the matter had long been decided thanks to Dayton’s dominant running game.
The Flyers ran for 294 yards (5.3 yards per carry), while holding PC to minus-9 yards on the ground on 19 attempts, a number that includes sack yardage.
Dayton’s Jake Chisholm led the Flyers with a game-high 156 yards rushing with three touchdowns.
Wesley came on in relief of Hayden at quarterback and completed 16 of 28 passes for 253 yards with two touchdowns to Kibby and an interception.
The Blue Hose (1-9, 0-7) are idle this week and are set to end their season on Nov. 19 at Stetson (3-6, 1-4). The Hatters have lost four straight games, including a 56-48 double-overtime loss Saturday at Davidson.
Blue Hose Notes: PC recognized 11 seniors and redshirt juniors during Senior Day pregame ceremonies. . . . Coach Steve Englehart said he expects to get extended looks at freshmen quarterbacks Ty Englehart and Tyler Wesley at Stetson . . . PC’s 364 yards passing was a season high for the Blue Hose and came on 20 of 40 attempts. . . . Dominic Kibby’s 75-yard reception was the longest play from scrimmage this season for PC.