Saluki football takes to the skies this week

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Saluki football takes to the skies this week

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

SIU football embarks on its farthest road game of the season this week.

The Salukis game with South Dakota at 1 p.m. Saturday in Vermilion, S.D., is 670 miles, or a 10-hour drive, from stadium to stadium, according to Google Maps. 

The team will take a chartered plane from Williamson County Regional Airport to Sioux City, Iowa, then take a 40-minute bus ride to Vermilion. 

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Tom Weber, Associate Athletic Director for Communications, said the team takes charter flights for longer trips in the Missouri Valley Football Conference including trips to North Dakota State, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Youngstown State and Northern Iowa. 

The Salukis play at Northern Iowa in the final game of the year on Nov. 21 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Weber said football and both basketball teams typically purchase charter flights, while other teams carry smaller rosters and can fly commercial flights for their long-distance trips. He said charter flights are about $10,000 round trip. 

Equipment travels separately from the team, being transported by truck to its destination.

Senior wide receiver Israel Lamprakes said the jet lag does not kick in until after the team gets back to campus. 

Coach Dale Lennon said longer trips are easier for the team.

“It’s the bus trips that are the ones that take its toll,” he said. “We’ll take a bus to Marion, then an hour later we’ll be in Sioux City.”

Eight other SIU sports teams had to or have to travel further than the football team this year. 

Weber said other teams can typically afford more distant trips because commercial flights are cheaper and fewer people travel with the team.

Lamprakes said flights are a fun and often serve as a bonding experience for the team.

“A lot of the guys don’t really like flying,” he said. “So when we take off it’s always funny hearing the guys.”

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected]

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