In 2008, Barack Obama was elected president for the first time, Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in Beijing, Heath Ledger died, Eliot Spitzer resigned over a prostitution scandal and "No Country for Old Men" won Best Picture at the Oscars.
And Penn sprint football beat Army.
This Friday, the Quakers (4-1) return to the road, venturing up to West Point to take on Army’s (5-0) squad and try to put an end to the nine-year spell. But, the Mules currently sits atop the league with a perfect 5-0 record.
“This is the championship game for us, we have to execute and do our job on offense,” senior wide receiver Henry Mason said.
“If we win the game we win the league, or at least assure a tie,” coach Bill Wagner said. “We gotta win Friday night.”
However, if history is at all telling, it will be a tough feat to beat Army.
The Quakers boast one of the best offenses in the league, but the squad they will be going up against has proven to be nearly unbreakable this season — the Black Knights have not given up a single touchdown this season — a fact not lost on the Red and Blue's offense.
“We know it’s going to be a struggle,” Mason said. “Army hasn’t let up a point all year so they are obviously the best defense in the league and the team to beat.
“But, you can’t put them up on a pedestal like that, you just have to go out there and trust that we have the ability to beat them.”
The fewest points the Black Knights have put on the board was just last weekend against Franklin Pierce, a 24-point showing in the shutout win.
“I think we can beat ‘em,” Wagner said. “I really do, and our kids think they can win. We think we have some scoring weapons in the run game as well as the passing game.”
Yet, no team is perfect , and the Quakers are looking to exploit holes they’ve found in Army’s defense to give them any advantage.
“Last year they double-covered me a good amount,” Mason said. “It looks like there are not men in the box against the run, so if we can establish the ground game it opens up the rest of the offense for us.”
With two consecutive wins under their belt and an impressive season overall, the Red and Blue should not be counted out.
“We’d like to get off to a fast start, which is something we’ve been doing,” Wagner said. “We really have to win the battle in the trenches which is going to be a tough battle because defensively they’re very strong, and their offense isn’t bad either.”
Penn currently sits second in the Collegiate Sprint Football League and still has much potential keep its strong position down the final stretch of the season. Although the season will not end for another two weeks, Friday night will be do or die for the Quakers.
“There’s a lot of things that have to happen for us to win,” Wagner said. “We have to play a perfect game, and there’s no reason why it can’t happen Friday night.”
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