In a defensive slugfest, the Quakers were unable to deliver the final punch.
Penn sprint football lost a hard-fought, closely contested game to Navy by a score of 16-7 in Annapolis, Md. on Friday night. Although the score may not indicate it, the game was close most of the way until Navy (5-0) kicked a late field goal to take a nine-point lead.
With the loss, Penn is eliminated from contention for the CSFL championship game. Navy will compete in that contest after taking home the South Division title for the second consecutive year.
Navy got the ball first and quickly settled for a field goal. The Red and Blue (3-2) then marched down the field and scored a touchdown on a 21-yard run by sophomore running back Laquan McKever. Little did Penn know at the time that points would not be as easy to come by for the rest of the night.
“When the game started, we had scored a relatively easy touchdown on the first drive, and I think maybe we got a little too confident and lost a bit of respect for Navy,” McKever said.
Along with scoring Penn's lone touchdown, McKever rushed for 66 yards to add to his Collegiate Sprint Football League leading season total in rushing yards.
After neither team scored for 20 minutes of game time, Navy pulled off a trick play, as running back Caleb Champion found JT Thompson in the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown to take a 10-7 lead just before halftime.
In the third quarter, neither team scored, so the stage was set for Penn to make a comeback once the fourth quarter began. However, when the Quakers took possession after a Navy field goal, senior quarterback Eddie Jenkins was intercepted in Penn territory.
Although Penn was able to hold Navy to a three-and-out, the Midshipmen had good enough field position to attempt and make another field goal to make it a two-score game, which effectively ended any chance the Quakers had.
After Penn punted on the subsequent possession, Navy ran out the clock and proceeded to win the game, 16-7.
For a Penn team that had scored 160 combined points over its last three contests, only being able to put up seven against Navy meant that it would have to rely on its defense. Even in the loss, the defense held a high-powered Navy attack to just 16 points.
“Our defense played outstanding. They kept us in the game the entire way through, and, unfortunately, we couldn’t put more points on the board," Jenkins said. "But I tip my cap to them. I really think they played their hearts out, and I really wish we could have scored a little bit more to win the game."
The Red and Blue still have much to play for, with this being longtime coach Bill Wagner's final few games at the helm.
“We have a lot of competitors on this team, a lot of guys who play for the love of the game, and we’re going to play our hearts out no matter what, no matter who’s on the field against us, whether we can win the championship or not," Jenkins said. "I think we’re gonna go out and play as hard as we can."
The Quakers will look to rebound next Saturday at Franklin Field against Alderson Broaddus (1-4) in what will be the team's final home game of the season.
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