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Wheels up: Several seniors from Air Force football headed to pilot training

Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun leads the football team out of the tunnel prior to a game against the Nevada Wolfpack on Sept. 29, 2018 at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

BILL EVANS/U.S. AIR FORCE

By BRENT BRIGGEMAN | The Gazette | Published: November 21, 2018

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Tribune News Service) — Air Force will honor 30 seniors playing their final home game, including regular starters Brody Bagnall (LB), Marcus Bennett (WR), Micah Capra (DL), Kyle Floyd (DB), Griffin Landrum (OL), Andrew Smith (WR) and Dailen Sutton (DB). Other key contributors bowing out will be Arion Worthman (QB), Cody Gessler (DL), Robert Bullard (DB), Ross Connors (DB) Ryan Darby (DL) and Austin Cutting (LS). Receiver Ronald Cleveland, lost for the season in early October, will also be honored.

The class was a part of the team that advanced to the Mountain West championship game in 2015 and won 10 games, including the Arizona Bowl, in 2016.

It enters the finale with a record of 27-23 in its four years.

The lasting legacy of the team may end up being the number of pilots it will send to the Air Force, as coach Troy Calhoun said he believed this class received a record number of pilot training spots. The list includes Garrett Amy, Bagnall, Danny Highland, Landrum, Matt Philichi, Smith and Sutton. Former player Michael DeVries, now helping as a manager, will also head to pilot training.

Sutton said he decided at the beginning of his senior year to target a pilot slot, which comes with a 12-year commitment.

He said that hadn’t been his intention, but he became intrigued with a ride during an Operations Air Force trip to Texas when he rode in a T-38.

“You grow, you change, you find out what you really like, who you are,” Sutton said. “Since I got here, it’s been kind of a development thing.”

He said the number of teammates following the same path will aid in the process.

“That’s huge,” he said, “knowing you’ll always have someone you can call — a brother, who is going through the same stuff you’re going through.”

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©2018 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
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