Senior wide receiver and captain Marcus Jones hopes to give Caldwell a loss in the team's first ever sprint football game.

Credit: Ilana Wurman

Welcome to sprint football, Caldwell University.

In Caldwell’s first-ever Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL)  game — or football game, period, for that matter — the Cougars will take on Penn, the CSFL’s defending champion. 

While the Red and Blue travel to the Northern New Jersey school as heavy favorites in their season opener, the unique circumstances of the game have left the Quakers very much in the dark.

“The only thing I know about them [Caldwell] is that they run a 4-2 defense and that they’re from Northern Jersey,” senior wide receiver and captain Marcus Jones said. 

That’s not much to go on for a team that’s used to watching film before every game. Penn is confident they will be able to adjust quickly, though. 

“I think it’s going to be interesting, just how we adjust the first couple of minutes,” Jones said. “And from the way our team looks and the way our guys play, we should have no problem with that. And I think we’re just going to adjust really quickly and give it to them for four straight quarters.”

Regardless of how talented Caldwell turns out to be, the atmosphere of the one o’clock Saturday game promises to be a raucous one, as the Caldwell Athletics marketing team has been doing everything in its power to attract a crowd for the inaugural game. 

The Quakers have their own strategic advantage, namely that they are an unpredictable team with a new-look roster. While the Red and Blue return many key players from last season’s championship roster, this year’s freshman class is one of the largest in school history. On top of that, several upperclassmen have joined the team to bring the number of new players to over twenty.

Out of everyone, though, returning sophomore quarterback Eddie Jenkins is likely to pose the biggest problem for Caldwell. Jenkins only saw limited snaps last season as the backup for two-time CSFL MVP Mike McCurdy, but the Pittsburgh native made the most of his appearances and showed in last weekend’s alumni game that he is ready to lead a new era of Penn sprint football.

“I think he adds another dimension with his feet that we had with Mike, but I think his athleticism makes him a little bit more of a threat that we’re going to have this year, which is really going to put teams on edge,” said Jones, who figures to be Jenkins’ favorite reciever this year.

No matter the outcome, Saturday will be a day to remember for Caldwell. Nonetheless, Penn hopes to spoil Caldwell's debut.

“I saw a picture on Instagram that they got a whole bunch of new gear that we’re going to get ready to beat up a little bit, and that’s about it,” Jones said. “I just know we’re ready to give them a welcome to the league game this Saturday.”

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