After picking up its first win of the season last weekend with a 39-12 thrashing of VMI, the sprint football team is looking to gather momentum for the stretch run of the season. In the next four weeks, the squad will face rivals Navy, Princeton, Penn, and Army – four teams that will all be tough to defeat. The Red has already played Navy and Penn, losing both games by a combined score of 54-6. As a result, the Red was in dire need of a win to build confidence going into the final four games. It got exactly what it was looking for against VMI.
The Red offense was hitting on all cylinders, and was able to freely move the ball down the field for most of the game. Junior running back Mike Fullowan rushed for 50 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching one pass for 49 yards and a touchdown. Senior Jon Amoona, junior Sean Pardo, and sophomore Glenn Palmer accounted for the other three touchdowns. Amoona’s came on a 50-yard pass from quarterback Brian Kennedy near the end of the third quarter, and Pardo caught a 32-yard pass from Alec Macaulay for the first score of the game. Palmer closed out the day’s offensive fireworks with a 20-yard touchdown run to cap off a 61-yard scoring drive.
It was this kind of offensive prowess that was missing from the Red’s first two losses of the season, most notably in its first match-up against Navy. The game this weekend will not be any easier for the Red, when it travels down to Annapolis, Md. to take on the Midshipmen on their home turf. In a sport where home field advantage is key, the Red will be looking to counter the raucous Navy crowd with another of football’s most important intangibles – momentum. While physics majors may see momentum as merely the product of mass and velocity, in football it is the product of victories and confidence.
For the Red, there is much to look at in terms of growing confidence. Fullowan had a breakout game with three touchdowns, Macaulay threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions, and overall the offense was able to involve its many weapons that had lay dormant during the first two games.
“The big thing was that the game this past weekend gave us a lot of confidence, because the first couple weeks we played well at some points and not as well at others, but none of the breaks went our way,” Macaulay said. “When that happens you tend to get down on yourself. But when you pick up a win, you get confidence because we know that we can do it. Hopefully we can build on that and maybe surprise some people.”
One of the best surprises last weekend, specifically for Macaulay and Kennedy, was the improved play of the offensive line. The squad has only one returning starter on the line, and has compiled a group made up of freshmen, converted defensive linemen, and first-time sprint footballers. While it may have taken a little while for the unit to gel, it appears that everything came together against VMI.
“I think that anyone who saw that game could see that [the offensive line] played a lot better, and the more time they have to play together the better they are going to get,” added Macaulay. “It all starts with them on offense.”
The gradual improvements seen during the first two games gave way to the breakthrough performance against VMI, which saw the Red dominate not only on offense, but also on defense. Were it not for a fumble recovery that put VMI on the Red 1-yard line and resulted in a touchdown, it is likely that the Keydets would have been held to only six points.
“I think that in football in general you’re always striving to improve each week,” Cullen said. “And that’s what we’re trying to do, maintain our momentum of improvement.”
Archived article by Jacob Lieberman
Sun Staff Writer