PRINCETON, N.J. -- Without a John Elway calling the signals, the Princeton sprint football team had little to no hope of coming back from its 22-0 halftime deficit at Friday night's game against Penn. The Quakers (2-0), on the other hand, were supremely confident in the locker room at the break. They had no doubt that a second victory was imminent and that their defense would be able to dominate the Tigers (0-2). When the Quakers dealt Cornell a 20-0 shutout in their season opener two weeks ago, the offensive heat was not turned on until the fourth quarter. This past Friday night, however, that was not the case. Penn put the game away in the first 30 minutes. After two weeks of putting on practice jerseys and scrimmaging each other, Penn's sprint team was ready to play for real. Only seven minutes, five seconds into the contest at Weaver Stadium, the Quakers put the first points on the board on a two-yard touchdown scamper by sophomore Mark Gannon and a two-point conversion run by sophomore Jeff Bagnoli. The Quakers' bottled-up anticipation for a real battle was let loose, and they led 8-0. "Last week [against Cornell] we came out with a lot of emotion and we were fired up. But this week the big plays in the first half game killed us," said Princeton sophomore Christian Gomez, who ran for 100 yards. "We came out kind of flat." Penn's offense was on. After three quarters of being out of sync against Cornell, the Red and Blue was more than ready to execute their game plan of a balanced running and passing game. Only four seconds into the second quarter, Penn senior running back Chris Wright had the second two-yard touchdown for the evening, with kicker Chris Caputo putting his first of three extra points on the board for a 15 point lead. About eight minutes following Wright's touchdown, senior quarterback John Kernan connected with senior wide receiver Robert Reeves for a five- yard touchdown to put the Quakers up 22-0. "Our offense came out and scored a lot of points early which took a lot of pressure off the defense, unlike the last game [against Cornell]," senior defender Mike Viney said. Besides taking a lot of pressure off the defense, the early lead enabled the coaches to substitute often in the second half. "[Because of] the nice 22-0 lead at the half, we were able to play all the kids," Penn coach Bill Wagner said. Before the second string came off the bench for an impressive performance, Penn's starters stepped it up to put on a show for the 300 fans bundled up on the stadium seats for the first chilly night of the football season. According to Reeves, the two weeks of pure practice gave the Red and Blue more than enough time to really take a look at Princeton's defense and exploit their weaknesses. "We just took advantage of what they were doing," Reeves said. "Bottom line, guys were blocking and taking care of their responsibilities. Kernan was 12-of-18 through the air for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Gannon, who was named Collegiate Sprint Football League Player of the Week after the Cornell game, found the end zone once and rushed for 59 yards on 10 carries. On defense, seniors Dan Rowcotsky, Viney and junior Matt Ragsdale each totaled six tackles for the corps that shut out the boys from Old Nassau. In two weeks, the Quakers will face their toughest test thus far at Navy. Time will tell if another fortnight of practices will allow the Penn coaches to prepare their team for a third shutout.Comments powered by Disqus
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