As he enters his 18th season at the helm Drake coach Rob Ash says it is a much different job than the one he took back in 1989. The Bulldogs are set to open in a renovated Drake stadium and for the first time in more than two decades the will have a chance to play in the post-season.
The Gridiron Classic will match the champions of the Pioneer Football League and the Northeast Conference. Ash says 18 years ago they were a division three team and the facilities were far behind what they are now. Ash says they now play U-N-I again and with all the changes it isn’t like he’s been at the same place all 18 years, he says “It’s gotten better all the time.”
The schedule features seven home games, including five under the lights. Ash says, “All football guys love to play at night.” Ash says they hope the fans and boosters enjoy the night football “experiment” this year.
Junior running back Scott Phaydavong says after playing “home” games at area high schools in 2005 they are glad to be back in Drake Stadium. Phaydavong says it feels great to be at home and to be able to walk down a tunnel and not have to drive to a “home” game.
Phaydavong has piled up more than three thousand yards in his first two years and says the Bulldogs have high expectations for this season. He says there’s a lot of excitement about playing U-N-I and getting back to the championship game and playing in the postseason, and playing at night.
Drake started with a brand new offensive line in 2005 but Phaydavong says that unit made tremendous progress last season. Phaydavong says the line got thrown to the wolves last year, but got a lot better. Drake opens August 31st against U-N-I.