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Coach King likes Dayton's character

May 2, 2005 - National Indoor Football League (NIFL) - Dayton Bulldogs News Release


Head coach Matt King knows the dangers of playing a close game. If it’s a dastardly overtime situation in the National Indoor Football League, it can make a coach nervous.

“I didn’t have any specific strategy, but if we would have won the coin toss I would have elected to go on defense,” said head coach Matt King after Friday night’s 59-52 NIFL overtime win over the Lakeland ThunderBolts.

“The reason for being on defense is to see what the other team will do, but it worked out well when our defense came up with the turnover,” King said of the fumble recovered by Brandon Tisdale that ended the game.

In overtime, the Warbirds (3-2) good from the 25 yard line. Pepe Pearson ran 6 yards on the first play and then quarterback Steve Bellisari connected with BJ Lovett for 19 yards and the score.

“After that first play, we ran a little play action that I thought caught them off guard and Steve delivered,” King said. “On the second defensive play, we really put the pressure on their quarterback.”

Bellisari had a phenomenal game. He had a season-high 301 all-purpose yards and was responsible for 8 touchdowns.

“The way our offense is set up, allowed me to run against Lakeland,” said Bellisari, who is in his first season of indoor football. “I’m sore after running but I’ll be fine.”

Both King and Bellisari agree that Lakeland played well. “They came out strong and we were a little flat,” said coach King. The ThunderBolts (2-5), who have lost four in a row, led the entire game (except for two ties at 39 and 46). It wasn’t until 1:54 of regulation that Dayton took a 52-49 lead on a Bellisari to Pearson 16-yard toss.

“We just didn’t move the ball well at first, so we talked about it at halftime,” added coach King. “We came out in the second half and made some big plays. I think we showed character.

“We supported each other as a team. The defense supported the offense and that was the turning point. It also was nice to see the guys were calm going into the overtime.”

The Warbirds travel to Montgomery, Alabama, for a game against the Maulers Saturday and Lakeland entertains the Kissimmee Kreatures on Sunday afternoon.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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