There’s only one thing more frightening than a lightning fast football team ready to pounce on your every move: a lightening fast football team with vengeance on its mind.
Following a heart-breaking season which saw half of its offense decimated by injuries, the Big Red Sprint Football team is ready to take what is rightfully its own — the league championship.
At the end of last season, with broken hearts, legs, arms and anything else you can imagine, Cornell hosted league-leading Army. The Big Red dominated the Cadets, putting itself into scoring position six times, but was unable to muster a point. Finally, Cornell fell valiantly 14-0.
“After the game, their head coach came out to me and said, ‘You guys have the best damn team we’ve played all season,'” head coach Terry Cullen laughed.
“Last year was a very disappointing year. I thought we had a very good football team but we were so inept offensively and the defense had to play so long that teams had the tendency to wear us down. We got a lot of experience, but made a lot of mistakes.”
Cullen hopes last season will only be a stepping stone to something greater.
Junior Ryan Dwyer returns as starter after a shaky sophomore season in which he injured his knee. He is backed up by freshmen Michael Antonecchia and Jeremy Nanus.
“The big question for our team might be quarterback — Ryan started but got a bad knee injury last season and spent the spring on crutches — that definitely affected his mobility. The other two kids are freshman, and freshmen tend to struggle,” Cullen noted.
Senior tri-captain Andrew Goodman returns to lead the Big Red’s ground attack at tailback. Junior and three-year starter Brian Allen will be the fullback. He will be backed up by sophomores Charlie Tam and Guillermo Younger.
Wide Receivers and Tight End
Junior returning-starter Sunil Gupta will become Cornell’s number one deep threat. Meanwhile junior Chris Hood and senior David Minami will split time in the slot.
Senior Sam Walcott will return at tight end. He started all six games last year.
The offensive line is where it all begins. Thankfully for Dwyer, a slew of experience will return to the trenches this season. The crew is led by right guard and first-team all-leaguer Aaron Sweeny, center Michael Zinkand, and left guard Zachary Iscol. Junior Matthew VerMilyea, a returning starter, will take the left tackle position. The right guard spot is up in the air resulting from the early graduation of James Yi ’00. The position will be split between senior Russell Lafrance, junior Ryan Akin, and sophomore Michael Shapiro.
The kicking duties will be split by junior Scott Buszko, sophomore Taylor Beauchamp and freshman Evan Andrews. Andrews may double as the punter, sharing time with Kim and Allen.
The Big Red defensive front will be lead by senior returning starter Alex Chen, juniors Martin Vogel and Miky Kuo, as well as sophomore Jay Sackett. Junior Michael Brown, senior Phil Rosenman, sophomores Greg Drakos and Jacob Fama will also get playing time.
The strength of the defense and the posterboys for the team, seniors Jon Krautmann and Patrick Arangio lead the linebacking corp. Tri-captain Krautmann was first team all-league last year while Arangio is a four-year starter. This group is also the deepest bunch in the pack as they are backed up by sophomores Mike Rutenberg, Kent Ferguson, Scott McQuade, Parsa Kiai, juniors Martin Alaniz and Doug Gogel, and freshman Lucas Morgan.
“We’ve got good communication, which takes a few games to develop –that’s going to be a strongpoint of our defense,” Krautmann commented.
The defensive secondary will look to make it impossible for opponents to go through the air this year. Senior Abimbola Sangosanya and sophomore Adam Romeiser will roam the corners. Sangosanya is a first-string all-leaguer and is starting for his fourth year in a row. The safeties include senior tri-captain Imad Baggar and junior Angelo Palmieri.
“[Baggar] has a kind of raw athleticism. He’s the kind of guy where you just have to find a place to put him on your team,” praised Krautmann.
Archived article by Sumeet Sarin