October 19, 2007

Sprints Must Overcome Injuries Against Penn

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After opening the season with a win over Penn at Schoellkopf Field, the sprint football team has dominated Princeton twice, 49-29 and 34-0, and fallen to Navy 35-14. In all three games the halftime leader went on to win the contest.
Heading into Saturday’s rematch against Penn, however, the Red (3-1, 1-1 CSFL) will remember having to overcome a 6-3 deficit at the half to beat Penn by only five points, winning 23-18 at home.
Penn (2-1, 1-0 CSFL) awaits the arrival of the Red after winning two consecutive games following the loss to Cornell in the season opener. The first of these victories came against Princeton, the only team to have faced both Cornell and Penn already this season. Whereas the Red totaled a 83-26 differential in two victories over the Tigers, it only took one game for Penn to rack up 60 points while only allowing seven to an undermanned Princeton squad.
In Penn’s last game on Friday, the Quakers earned an impressive 13-12 victory over Army at West Point. Penn was trailing 12-6 late in the fourth quarter when junior quarterback Mike D’Angelo connected with sophomore Clarke Armatis for a 34-yard touchdown, giving Penn the lead and the eventual victory.
“Penn beat Army at West Point for the first time in 50 years,” said coach Terry Cullen.
“Last time we faced [Penn] was one of the best football games I’ve been in,” said junior Matt Malleo. “It’s definitely going to be a challenge.”
While Penn is having one of its most successful seasons in its history with the win over Army, the defending CSFL champion Red have had to deal with injuries to key players all year. In Saturday’s game against Penn, the Red will be without its two best defensive players and possibly two key components of the offense.
Junior quarterback Zak Dentes and senior tri-captain running back Glenn Palmer were both injured and did not finish the game in the Red’s only loss of the year against Navy. Both players also did not play in last Friday’s game against Princeton.
“It’s kind of iffy right now, neither [Dentes or Palmer] has really been able to practice,” Cullen said. “Both will be game-day decisions.”
Dentes suffered an injury to his throwing hand early in the game against Navy, and has not thrown at all since coming out of the game at halftime.
“My hand feels good,” Dentes said. “I hope to play on Saturday.”
“We’re hoping Zak’s healthy for Saturday,” Malleo said. “But Elliot [Corey] has proven himself, if Zak can’t play.”
The Red may have to depend on freshman Elliot Corey at quarterback, who threw three touchdown passes last Friday against Princeton, while filling in for Dentes.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Red will be without last year’s CSFL MVP, senior tri-captain Jason Remillard, and senior linebacker Cameron Johnson. Remillard had season-ending surgery after playing in only one game this season, and an MRI on Johnson’s knee revealed a broken bone that will likely end his season as well.
“They were our two best defensive players,” Cullen said. “Maybe the two best in the league, I think.”
Without Remillard and Johnson in the linebacking corps, the Red still managed to hold Princeton scoreless in their second meeting of the season, after giving up 29 points in the teams’ first contest.
“[Remillard and Johnson] were pretty integral parts of the defense, and when we lost them it discombobulated us,” Cullen said. “But we’re progressing pretty good.”
Hoping to overcome critical injuries on both sides of the ball, the defending CSFL champions will head to Penn’s Franklin Field looking to beat the Quakers for the fifth consecutive time.
“Penn’s a good team this year, but I’m very positive,” Cullen said. “Very confident.”