DES MOINES, Iowa--The Drake football team, defending co-champion of the Pioneer Football League, will hold its annual Blue & White Game on Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m. at Drake Stadium. The game is open to the public and there is no admission charge.
The event is preceded by team's fifth annual Youth Day on Friday afternoon at Drake Stadium.
YOUTH DAY: Drake Football hosts its fifth annual Youth Day on Friday, April 20 from 4:30-5:45 p.m., inside the stadium. The event is free, and open to kids in grades 2-5. This event, introduced by Head Coach Chris Creighton when he arrived at Drake in 2008, is designed to give area children an opportunity to visit with the Bulldogs' players while enjoying football-related fun and games. For questions about Drake Football Youth Day please contact Rick Fox at (515) 271-3832.
SPRING FOOTBALL 2012: Drake began its spring workouts March 28, practicing three days each week since that time. The Bulldogs return six starters on offense and six on defense from a squad that in 2011 shared the Pioneer Football League title with San Diego, finishing 9-2 overall and 7-1 in the PFL. The Bulldogs' only conference loss came on the road at San Diego, 31-24.
Six of the Bulldogs' returning starters earned all-conference recognition in 2011, including fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Piatkowski (Wheaton, Ill.), who was a first-team performer and earned PFL Offensive Player of the Year accolades. Fifth-year senior Linebacker Tyler Moorehead (Mason City, Iowa) also was named first-team All-PFL for the second year in a row, while linebacker Travis Merritt (Johnston, Iowa) earned second-team honors and was named Freshman Defensive Player of the Year.
BULLDOGS' PRESEASON NOTES:
- The 2012 Bulldogs will seek to win back-to-back Pioneer Football League championships for the first time. Drake's previous titles came in 1995, '98, 2000 (co-champions) and '04;
- QB Mike Piatkowski moved up to second place on Drake's career passing yards list in 2011, and enters 2012 at 6,927. Coming off a 2,934-yard season (second-best in program history), he needs just 941 to catch all-time leader Ira Vandever (7,868; 1999-2002);
- Already the school's career leader in completions (595) and completion percentage (62.3%), Piatkowski's 54 career touchdown passes leave him just 13 behind Vandever (67) in that category. His 25 touchdown passes in 2011 were second-most in school history for a single seson;
- Head Coach Chris Creighton was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson FCS Coach of the Year Award in 2011;
- Creighton's career winning percentage of .682 (30-14) is the best by a head coach in Drake football history. His teams' have won 28 of their last 38 games, and his home record is 20-3 (.870), including an active streak of 10 consecutive wins at Drake Stadium;
- The defensive coaching staff has a new coordinator in Brad McCaslin, formerly the defensive coordinator and associate head coach at Nebraska-Omaha, where he coached for 14 seasons;
- Also new to the coaching staff is defensive back coach/recruiting coordinator Todd Frakes. The 11-year coaching veteran spent nine seasons on the staff at Centre College in Danville, Ky;
- McCaslin and Frakes will work with a defense that led the PFL and ranked No. 2 in the nation (FCS) in rushing yards allowed (77.2), and also finished first in scoring defense (17.8; 7th FCS), tackles for loss (7.7; 13th FCS), yards per play allowed (4.4, tie), Red Zone defense (62.9%) and opponents' time of possession (28:41);
- DE Brandon Coleman led the team with a career-high 12.0 sacks and tied for 10th in the FCS (4th PFL) at 1.09 per game;
- LB Tyler Moorehead led Drake in tackles (78; 55 solo; T-5th PFL) and led the PFL (T-8th FCS) in tackles for loss (21.0; 1.91/game), while figuring sixth in the PFL (T-16th FCS) in sacks (10.0; 0.95/game).