For a Cornell sprint football player the idea of playing under the lights of Schoellkopf Field on a Friday night is something very important. On Friday night at 7 p.m., the Red is scheduled to welcome the Princeton Tigers. Not only is this a game on the Red’s home field against a rival Ivy League school, according to the players, there is nothing more sentimental than playing under the “Friday Night Lights.”
Up to this point in the season, the Red (2-0, 1-0 Ivy League) has overcome two tough opponents to capture an undefeated start to its regular season. With an astonishing six-overtime win over Penn, and an intense fourth quarter touchdown over Franklin Pierce to solidify its success over the newest addition to the league, the Red has exhibited its maturity and toughness when it matters.
This Friday night Cornell will be tested again. Princeton (0-2) comes off of a tough loss to The United States Naval Academy, a perennial league powerhouse. Furthermore, Princeton narrowly missed a successful home opener against Mansfield University the weekend prior with a final score of 23-16.
“We watched [the Tigers’] first game versus Mansfield; they played them pretty even,” said co-head coach Bart Guccia.
Princeton will be out looking for its first win of the season against the Red. Although having had a successful history against the Tigers, Guccia said that he will not take this game lightly.
“We prepare for each team the same way,” he explained. “We learn their tendencies, formation, and defense and create our game plan accordingly,”
Although having started their season with two losses, the Tigers are looking for redemption this coming weekend against the Red.
“Princeton is much improved,” Guccia said. “Had it not been for a couple of interceptions they could have won. We can’t take them lightly.”
During the last meeting of the two programs, the Red stunned Princeton with a 49-7 win. However, last year’s game plays little factor in how the team views this coming weekend. According to sophomore defensive linemen Evan Zittel, he is not going to not take this game lightly either.
“We know and understand that Princeton always comes ready to play, and we need to prepare for them just as we do for any team,” he said.
The Red looks to continue its early season success over Princeton this Friday. According to Guccia, the team has one big goal for the end of the season.
”Like all teams, it’s to win the championship,” he said.
This weekend the Red looks to take another step forward in its goal of winning the Collegiate Sprint Football League Championship. According to Zittel, in order to continue its success this season, Cornell will have “to continue to work hard in practice and take each week and each game one at a time.”
Having already played two very tough games, Guccia explained that the experiences have shaped the team.
“[Winning the tough games] shows team character,” he said. “[The players] never gave up, even when we were behind, and that’s why they were successful.”
The character of this team could play an important role in its continued success in the upcoming games. With Princeton, followed by Army and then Navy, the Red faces the traditional powerhouses of the league. The Red looks to use the next three games to gauge where the team is, according to Guccia.