KYLE BEERY| STAFF REPORTER
Butler football coach Jeff Voris looks over his team after one final Monday night walk-through and asks them a question.
“Will you be satisfied with the effort you gave?”
Voris refers to the team’s upcoming season finale against University of Dayton on Saturday. The Bulldogs (4-6, 2-5 Pioneer Football League) take the field for the last time Saturday in search of their fifth win of the season.
It will be the last time running out of the tunnel for seven seniors. Coming off Butler’s first loss to rival Valparaiso University in the Hoosier Helmet Game in seven years, they’re using the motivation of the loss heading into another rivalry game with Dayton.
Senior safety Jojo Ciancio said they’ll be looking to rebound and leave a better taste in their mouth to end the season.
“It doesn’t get any better than this, we’re playing Dayton,” Ciancio said. “They don’t respect us.
“(Valparaiso) was a tough loss. You’re never going to get over it completely, but I think everyone’s looking forward to, once you lose, getting that bad taste out of your mouth by getting another chance to play another game.”
Saturday’s game almost had the potential to be a little bit sweeter for the Bulldogs. Dayton lost to Drake University 34-30 last weekend in a game that saw the Flyers (6-3, 4-2) blow a 30-20 lead and fall out of PFL contention, leaving Jacksonville and San Diego tied atop the standings.
Regardless, senior DL Bret Shannon says the team is plenty motivated to knock off its rival and end the season on a positive note.
“I think we’re fired up every Saturday,” Shannon said. “I think we really need this one with the season we’ve been having. All the seniors want to go out, leave this program on a positive note, and carry them into next year and win some games.”
Shannon will not only be playing for pride Saturday, but also for the chance to finish the season leading the PFL in sacks. He comes into Saturday with seven solo sacks and one assisted sack, just one assist behind Davion Belk of Stetson University, who will be playing Morehead State University in its final game of the season Saturday.
Ciancio, who has battled injuries his entire career will be taking it all in for one last time Saturday.
“It’s going to be emotional, it’s going to bring back a lot of memories of all the great times I’ve had with my teammates running out on the field with them,” Ciancio said. “But it’s also going to be a day of celebration, celebrating a good group of seniors going out that have done a lot and won two (PFL) championships during their time.”
Dayton comes in averaging 32.7 points per game, and allowing 24.8 per game. Butler is averaging 24.3 and 28.4 respectively.
Dayton quarterback Will Bardo has 11 passing touchdowns and 1511 passing yards. He’s also got three passing touchdowns.
Kickoff is Saturday at 11:00 a.m.