It was coach Bill Wagner’s last game at Franklin Field, and Penn sprint football was sure to give him a proper send off in a dominating win.
After a heartbreaking defeat to Navy last weekend took the Red and Blue out of contention for a Collegiate Sprint Football League Championship, the Quakers bounced back in their first-ever game against Alderson Broaddus in a convincing 49-7 win.
Senior quarterback Eddie Jenkins again played a big role with a career-high four rushing touchdowns on the day. For Penn, this win has special importance because it was the final home game of Wagner's legendary 50-year career.
“We still had a lot of motivation for this game, with it being coach Wagner’s last game at Franklin Field,” Jenkins said. “His last game in 50 years on this field, we really wanted to come out and make sure we send him off the right way.”
Penn (4-2, 2-1 South) came out energetic, put the pressure on early, and never let up. Alderson Broaddus (1-5, 0-3) got the ball first to start the game, but the possession didn’t last long as junior defensive back Josh Trybus intercepted Battlers’ quarterback Joshua DeRocher on the first play of the game. On the next play, Jenkins rushed for 16 yards to open the scoring.
“Josh is a playmaker, he brings the energy, and him making a play right off the bat just set the tone for the rest of the day, and we just fed off that energy,” Jenkins said.
The defense would then hold the Battlers to a three-and-out to get the Penn offense back on the field, and Jenkins and the Quakers immediately took advantage with a 68-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Brendan McCaffrey. The reception for McCaffrey was a career long for him, and a season-long pass for Jenkins.
“[McCaffrey] gets open all the time, and if I can just put the ball somewhere near him, he’ll go out and catch them for me,” Jenkins said.
Although the win seemed in hand with Penn up 35-7 at the half, the home side added two more touchdowns in the second half for good measure.
The Quakers were once again powered by Jenkins at the helm. He ended the day with 14 completions on 21 attempts, accounting for 263 yards and three touchdowns. He particularly shined with his play on the ground, leading all rushers with 106 yards and four touchdowns.
“[Jenkins] has been our leader on the offensive side of the ball, and the offensive line really has done a great job as well, you have to have that good combination,” Wagner said.
While the offense was the highlight of the game, the defense is what kept the Battlers out of the end zone for most of the game. The Quakers held the visitors to 54 total yards, a season best for Penn. The only touchdown they allowed came after a Jenkins interception at the end of the first quarter.
“The defense really has come around, they’ve hustled, and they overcome a lot of things,” Wagner said. “That was a tough weekend [against Navy], however, they band together and made themselves much stronger, and it was a full team effort, and they all took care of business.”
Although last weekend’s loss to Navy means Penn will not play for a CSFL title, Saturday's result was a dream end to Wagner’s 50 years of coaching at Franklin Field. It was only right that the Quakers would put up almost 50 points in the win.
The Penn Band was also at the game to honor Wagner by playing “The Red and Blue” at his final home game. The crowd began to chant “Thank you, Wags,” as the clock expired to show their appreciation for all Wagner has done for the program.
“It’s been the biggest part of my life, other than my family. But this is my second family,” Wagner said. “Alums supported the program, and were loyal to the program, and have made us into a first-class varsity sport, and we’re going to move forward with that, and it’ll be here another 50 years.”
The emotion will sure to be even higher next weekend as Wagner will coach his last game for Penn on the road against Caldwell.