By SHAN DHALIWAL
Navy continued their excellent season and proved their dominance this weekend with a 35-14 victory over Cornell’s sprint football team.
The Midshipmen (5-1-0) scored 28 points in the first half and entered the half leading the Red 28-7. The Red (3-3-0) limited the Mids to just seven points in the second half but were not able to gain enough ground offensively to overcome the Mids’ strong first half.
“It was definitely a game that we wanted to win, and it was a game I thought we could,” said junior running back Kevin Nathanson. “I thought it was a hard-fought game, and at halftime we made some adjustments and played a great second half.”
The Red matched the Mids in scoring in the second half with seven points, but could not overcome the scoring deficit from the first half. The final score, however, does not accurately reflect the strength of the Red’s performance. Nathanson finished with 99 receiving yards and junior quarterback Rob Pannullo finished with a team-high 68 rushing yards to accompany 152 passing yards in a strong offensive effort from the Red.
“Our strategy was to try and take advantage of what we felt we could run offensively and we were fairly effective offensively [and] moved the ball fairly well,” said head coach Bart Guccia.
However, the problem for the Red was that the Mids showed their strength offensively as well and carried positive momentum from an early lead to finish off the game.
“They were very strong offensively and were able to get a two-touchdown lead,” Guccia said. “We were down 21-7, and they scored a touchdown with two seconds left, and that put ‘em up by three [touchdowns].”
“We stopped them once in the second half and scored again and [then] tried an onside kick,” Guccia continued. “They recovered, and from that point on [the score] stayed the same until they finally scored the last touchdown.”
Navy’s junior quarterback Nick Deterding finished with 220 passing yards, completing 14 of 25 attempts, and also finished with 116 rushing yards. Senior running back Eric Wellmon added 129 rushing yards.
Defensively, the Red also played better than the score showed. Junior linebacker John Zelek finished with 11 tackles, and junior linebacker Chris D’Ambrosio added 10 in a game the Red limited its opponent to just one touchdown in the second half.
“I don’t really think there was an overpowering tactic, [and] I thought we made the necessary adjustments at the half and it was a very hard fought game,” Nathanson said. “I don’t think the score really showed how close it really was.”
The Red will take on Post University in Waterbury, CT this Saturday at 12 pm. Although a league championship is no longer possible, a win this weekend would give the team a winning record, which is something the Red hasn’t achieved since 2012.
“We’re gonna try and bring the same intensity that we had last week and end on a win and have a winning record,” Nathanson said.
The Red last defeated Post in 2010 and lost to the Eagles 17-14 last season. Nevertheless, Guccia is confident that the team can finish off the season on a positive note.
“Our goal from day one [has been] to finish,” Guccia said, “and this is the last game so we have to finish it.”