November 5, 2003

Big Improvements for Sprint Football During 2003

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The 2002 Cornell sprint football team finished with a 2-4 record. The 2003 edition finished with an identical 2-4 mark. Yet, there were vast improvements made — the most astounding being the 42 points scored all of last season in relation to the 149 scored this year, good for almost 25 points per contest.

In our first win against Princeton, we scored more points (46) than we did all of last year, which shows the huge strides we made on the offensive side of the ball. In that game, we had 482 total yards of offense and scored five touchdowns. Three of those came from freshman Mike Fullowan, who was playing linebacker at the beginning of he season. Mike definitely found his niche in the backfield, racking up 459 yards on the ground this season, with seven touchdowns. Fullowan, who had a 106 yard performance against Navy, is currently the leading rusher in the Collegiate Sprint Football League, and is a huge reason why the team is ranked second in the league in total offense with 317 yards per game.

Because the running game was so productive, first year offensive coordinator, Bill Walker, was able to get his speedy receivers into some open field. Seniors Henry Kim and Douglas Charton are currently ranked first and fourth in the league respectively in receptions. Kim has 537 yards on the season, which is 225 yards more than Pat Monaghan of Penn. Monaghan will feast on Princeton’s soft defense this weekend, while Kim’s season is done, but I’d say his lead is pretty comfortable.

Both players’ explosiveness is represented in their yards per catch. Kim averaged 14.5 yards per catch to go along with his two scores. Charton, the main deep threat, averaged 16.6 yards per reception, including a 45-yard strike against Princeton. By the way, did I mention that Charton had no prior football experience before this season?

Although these statistics are tremendous strides for our program, our critics will say that all we did was beat up on Princeton more than we did last year.

Last season, we were as close to beating one of the academies as the Houston Texans were to winning the Super Bowl. In our games against Army and Navy, we were outscored 76-7, and against Navy, we threw six interceptions, gave up over 400 yards of offense, and the game was so lopsided that Navy had 14 different players have at least one rushing attempt. What a difference a year makes.

Now, I will be the first to admit that our 45-14 loss this season to Navy doesn’t look spectacular, and I don’t believe in “moral victories,” but there were plenty of things we can take from that game going into next season. First off, the score at halftime was 7-3, after they scored with just seconds remaining in the half. A few minutes into the fourth quarter, we were within two scores of them — they only blew the game open with a couple of touchdowns in mop-up time. Even the stats showed a closer story, as we had just two fewer first downs, more passing yards than them, and two takeaways.

Then in our finale against Army, our defense recorded a momentum swinging 68-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, on a huge hit by sophomore defensive end Nick English. Red quarterbacks, Alec Macauley, who is second only to two-time defending Sprint Football MVP Chris Asinhurst of Navy in passing yards, and Nick Livigne, combined for over 330 yards in the air, and again we were down by just two scores before the Black Knights tacked on a late touchdown.

Next season, the schedule will be tougher than ever, with only one game against the lowly Tigers. The schedule also includes trips to Army, where we have scored only one touchdown in the past two seasons and Franklin Field, which is the oldest stadium in all of college football, and is a worse place for Cornell Sprint Football to play in than Yankee Stadium is for the Red Sox.

Yet given another year for this young squad to mature will only better our chances of taking down one of the powerhouses in the league. Next year, the talent will be there and the wins should follow suit, because a 1-5 mark just won’t cut it.

Archived article by Chris Mascaro