September 19, 2008

Sprint Football Opens Season With Grudge Match

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The sprint football team kicks off its 2008 season tonight on the road against its strongest Ivy League foe — Penn. After finishing third in the Collegiate Sprint Football League last season, the Red hopes to rebound and reclaim it former 2006 CSFL title.
Cornell and Penn, which is also opening its season tonight, are no strangers on the field. During their last meeting with the Quakers, the Red closed out the series with an agonizing 35-28 loss in overtime on Franklin Field after defeated Penn earlier in the season at Schoellkopf Field, 23-18.
[img_assist|nid=31924|title=Not goin down without a fight|desc=Senior receiver Michael Brennan (10) comes down with the ball in the Red vs. White scrimmage.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Even with this disappointing loss, Cornell still leads the overall series, 56-31. With both teams striving for the CSFL title this year, the Red will be looking to secure an early win in the season.
Bart Guccia — who is assuming the role of co-head coach this season, taking over the majority of long-time head coach Terry Cullen’s responsibilities — has no doubt about the potential of this year’s team. With injuries posing a problem last season, Guccia hopes to keep the team healthy while climbing up the rankings to conquer the title.
“Penn is a tough test right off the bat,” he said. “It’s always a special game because of the Ivy League. … They are our main competition. Hopefully, we will make the right plays that keep us in the game.”
Despite losing 13 graduating players, the Red hopes to carry over its energy from last year’s season-ending victory against Army. In addition, 42 varsity-lettered athletes are returning, including prominent seniors such as quarterback Zak Dentes, wide receiver and all-purpose player Michael Brennan and running back Matt Malleo.
Senior Michael D’Angelo quarterbacked the Quakers for the majority of last season and was a main factor Penn’s overtime victory last year. Also tallying tackles for Penn’s defense earlier in his college career, D’Angelo’s versatility poses a huge threat on the field, according to Guccia.
At their 2008 alumni game, however, the Quakers let new freshman quarterback Todd Busler make his debut on the field. The Red’s biggest concern is determining which quarterback the Quakers will start and preparing its defense for either contingency.
Cornell senior captains Zak Dentes and Michael Brennan have already achieved many accomplishments for the Red, and the team is expecting similar results for this season. Quarterback Zak Dentes, a native Ithacan, is in No. 5 on Cornell’s career passing list and needs only 72 more yards to jump to fourth place. Similarly, Michael Brennan led the CSFL in accumulating 409 yards, placing him in sixth place on the Red’s all-time career reception yards list. He only needs 51 yards to move into fifth.
“Our passing game is looking pretty good, and our defense looks especially good. I’m not concerned about them. I’m more concerned with the way we’re going to play. If we play the right way then we don’t have to worry with what they do.” Brennan said.