Drillers defeat Dayton 48-40 at 3 am
DAYTON, OHIO - What a day it was for the Beaumont Drillers. Taking a game on one day notice against the NIFL's newest member, the Dayton Warbirds, on a scheduled bye week, the Drillers improved to 3-1 on the season handing Dayton a 48-40 loss in a game that ended at 3 a.m. early Sunday morning at the Nutter Center in Dayton.
Three sets of Driller players were to fly out of Bush Intercontinental Airport on Saturday, and two groups got off with no problems. The third set, which included Driller general manager Steve Reap and 10 players, found themselves scratching their heads in wonder.
The plane, set to leave at 6:25 am on Saturday, departed but without the Drillers. There was a mix-up in reservations, so the team scrambled with the Dayton Warbirds' management to get another flight. The group, after arriving at 5 a.m. in Houston, flew to Austin at 1:45 p.m. which was supposed to then fly to Cincinnati, 45 minutes away from Dayton. The plane scheduled to leave was late due to mechanical problems, which delayed the flight two hours putting the group waiting at the airport nearly 12 hours. After leaving Austin at 4:59 p.m., the group arrived in Cincinnati at 9 p.m.
The Warbirds sold over 7,000 tickets for their first game, kept fans in the Nutter Center entertained with cheerleaders, trivia and more. The group finally arrived at the Nutter Center at 10:40 p.m. in four taxi cabs, and were rushed into the locker rooms to change then kickoff at 11:15 p.m.
Now to the game.
Playing without three starters including Shockmain Davis and T.J. Light plus still without the services of quarterback Marc Saldana, the Drillers took a 12-7 lead in the first quarter after Aubrey Jones found Chad Luttrull in the back of the end zone for six. After the catch, Luttrull came down wrong on his foot and was taken out of the game and did not return and could be lost for the season.
Beaumont was down 26-19 at the half, but took over the second half scoring the game's next 27 points to take a commanding 48-26 lead in the fourth. Dayton made a comeback and had the ball at the Driller 2-yard line with 0:02 left in the game but failed to score when Randy Chappell, Shawn Manning and Marvin Abii denied running back Pepe Pearson at the 1-yard line as time expired, which was at 2 a.m. EST, moving the clock 1-hour forward for Daylight Savings Time.
"We just flat out gutted this darn thing out," said Beaumont head coach Kyle Mackey. "This was one crazy day and I was very concerned about the stamina of this team after the day most of them had. We lost Chad (Luttrull) in the first quarter and then about four or five players were sick at halftime. We had no practices and beat a very talented team in front of a big crowd on the road."
Roland Hayes, who scored two touchdowns, left the game in the third quarter and did not return due to a rib contusion.
The defensive side of the ball saw Eric Jackson intercept three Steve Bellisari passes. Bellisari, a former Ohio State starter, owns a Super Bowl ring won with the St. Louis Rams.
The Drillers will travel to Lubbock to face the Lone Stars (0-3) on April 9 at 7:30 p.m. The Lone Stars are coached by former Driller head coach Bryan Blake. The Drillers sit alone in first place atop the NIFL Pacific East with a 3-1 record.
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National Indoor Football League Stories from April 3, 2005
- Hammerheads top Stampede, 47-26 - Corpus Christi Hammerheads
- Drillers defeat Dayton 48-40 at 3 am - Beaumont Drillers
- Morays blast Lubbock, 53-13, in home opener - Miami Morays
- Over 5,000 fans witness Maulers' first home game - Montgomery Bears
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