With a shot at its first CSFL championship in almost 20 years on the line, the Red sprint football team lost, 27-0, to Army on Friday night at Schoellkopf Field. The loss put the Red’s final record at 3-4 (2-2 CSFL) and also ended its bid for its first winning season since 1992.
The Red entered the game on a roll, having won three of its last four. However, that momentum wasn’t enough to make up for the injury sustained the previous week to junior running back Mike Fullowan, the league’s leading rusher. As a result of what head coach Terry Cullen classified as a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee, Fullowan was only able to see limited action. This severely hampered the Red offense, which uses a powerful running attack to both free up the deep ball and control the pace of the game.
Army established its dominance early on, with a 13-yard touchdown run by Patrick Hall, capping a 50-yard drive and giving the Black Knights a 6-0 lead.
With the Red trailing by six in the second quarter, a pair of special teams penalties turned the tide of the game in favor of Army. The first came when the Red picked up a roughing the kicker penalty after forcing Army to punt, breathing new life into a stalled drive. Not long after the first roughing the kicker penalty, the Red picked up another when Army’s Adam Demarco missed a 42-yard field goal, but was hit during the play. The Black Knights made the Red pay for its mental mistakes by capping the drive with another touchdown run by Hall to take a 13-0 halftime lead.
In an unorthodox move, Cullen chose to begin the second half with an onside kick in an attempt to recover the ball and quickly put points on the board. Unfortunately for Cullen and the Red, the onsides team was not able to corral the football and Army gained possession in Cornell territory. After punting the ball back-and-forth, Army started driving from the Red 28-yard line. The Black Knights found in the end zone in just two plays, as Braden Amigo found Chris Cortez for a 27-yard gain and James Antonides pounded the ball the final yard to make the score 20-0.
“[Army’s] third touchdown was really the turning point,” said senior co-captain LaRue Robinson. “When we were down, 13-0, we still really felt we were in it and we had a chance, but after they went up by three scores, with the way we were playing on offense and on defense, it just really hurt our morale.”
With the game rapidly slipping away at the end of the third, the Red had its last chance to stay in the game, as it faced a fourth-and-4 at the Army 26-yard line. Fullowan came off the bench to run a halfback option, but his pass back to senior quarterback Alec Macaulay was incomplete and the Red turned the ball over on downs.
The fourth quarter was more of the same, as Army consistently was able to move the ball into Red territory and controlled much of the play. Hall added his third field goal of the night to cap the scoring and give his squad a 27-0 win.
“Army is a very physical team on both sides of the ball,” Cullen said. “They like to grind it out, and they also play very, very tough defense.”
The Red was limited to 100 yards of total offense, while Army racked up 334 in the rout. Filling in for Fullowan, senior running back and Sun Sports Editor Chris Mascaro had 20 yards on 11 carries. Macaulay, also a senior, ended his career with a 4-of-20 performance for 34 yards and three interceptions.
Robinson added a team-high nine tackles in his final game at cornerback for the Red.
In addition to his three touchdowns, Hall rushed for 143 yards on 22 carries for the Black Knights.
“Overall, I think the season went very well,” Robinson said. “We had done some things this year that we hadn’t done in a while. We put ourselves in contention, which was a big step to build upon for next year.”
Archived article by Jacob Lieberman
Sun Staff Writer