Another year, another loss to Army for Penn sprint football.
It was another tough outing for the Quakers at West Point where the big play was the Achilles heel for Penn’s defense.
The Red and Blue (0-1) lost to the defending CSFL champions Army (1-0) in a contest that was evenly matched in some statistical aspects but not in the point differential; an eerily similar sight to last year’s contest.
Last year, Army marched all over the Quakers, winning 35-7.
And once again, Penn did everything it could to stop the Black Knights’ offense, but still yielded 452 yards, including 138 on the ground.
“You see the stats in first downs and yards, it was pretty even it was just the big plays that hurt us,” head coach Bill Wagner said. “They came out in the second half and shut us down and scored two touchdowns.”
The Quakers went into the half down by a score of 14-6, surrendering an Army touchdown right before the half. Perhaps that momentum was carried through the duration of the game, as Army’s quarterback James Wartski tossed the ball for 293 yards and three touchdowns overall.
As it was a year ago, the aerial attack of Army’s talented quarterbacks destroyed the Red and Blue secondary. For what it’s worth, Penn accomplished some of its defensive goals including limiting Army to just 59 plays, playing physical and leaving the game with no injuries.
One of the bright spots of Penn’s defense was freshman linebacker Robert Diorio. Diorio was reckless racking up 10 solo tackles and a sack for an eight yard loss. Even with Diorio’s incredible performance, it was apparent to Wagner that the defensive line has a long way to go.
“Our front down linemen didn’t have many tackles in the game,” Wagner said. “Army is a great football team and [its] offensive line is really good. We were really hurting without Mack Pierson.”
But it wasn’t only the defense that had a tough outing, the offense stumbled as well. Despite junior quarterback Keith Braccia playing a great game — where he surpassed junior running back Mike Beamish in total yards and in rushing yards — the receivers had trouble catching the ball.
“They broke up a big pass on fourth down on a deep post route,” Wagner said. “We threw a [potential] touchdown pass and another deep pass both of which we dropped. We had a slant and then a post out to the corner that bounced right off the hands. That would’ve put us right back in the game.”
The Black Knights’ defense seemed to shut down the Quakers’ offense in the second half leaving Penn with a disappointing loss at West Point.
But Wagner didn’t think the team played a bad game overall. It was just the big play that ended up being the downfall of this troubled Quakers squad.
“Overall we really played a good football game, hopefully we came out of it without any injuries, keeping us ready for the Mansfield game,” Wagner said.
The Quakers are set to make their home debut for 2013 next Friday at Franklin Field. After a disappointing loss, Penn will look to avenge their defeat and take it to Mansfield in the efforts to revitalize team morale.
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