September 26, 2008

Red Hits Road to Face New Sprint Program

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The saying goes that there is a first time for everything. For Mansfield, this weekend will be its first CSFL game. About a year after deciding to start a sprint football program, Mansfield will get its first crack on the field when it takes on Cornell tomorrow.
[img_assist|nid=32106|title=Loose legs|desc=Kicker Mitch Ottinger (55) scored the Red’s only points against Penn last week. Cornell faces Mansfield tomorrow.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Mansfield was home to a Division II squad in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference from 1891 until 2006, when budget constraints forced the school to disband the program.
But in October of last year, the school decided to resurrect football — just not on the same scale. With a budget of between 100,000 and 150,000, about one-fourth of what it was spending on the regular football program, Mansfield decided to start a sprint football program. One cost it did have to immediately incur, however, was that of buying new uniforms.
“Even XL is too big,” joked Mansfield head coach Dan Davis to ESPN.com about the old football uniforms.
Cornell, in stark contrast to Mansfield, played its first sprint football game in 1937. The program has three national titles, but started this season with a 17-3 loss to Penn. The Penn loss was counted as an out-of-conference affair, though, so both the Red and the Mountaineers enter tomorrow’s contest with empty conference records.
Mansfield has one exhibition under its belt, scrimmaging Princeton last week. Danny Moss was a bright spot for the Moutaineers, tossing two touchdowns and completing passes to seven receivers. One of the more dangerous receivers for Mansfield against Princeton was Ryan Bernaiche, a holdover from the school’s former football squad.
Several of the defenders are also former members of Manfield’s defunct squad.
Around 1,000 people attended the Mansfield-Princeton scrimmage, so it is likely that there will be a distinct bias for the hometown squad tomorrow. Most sprint football games draw between 200 and 700 fans.