October 27, 2008

Dentes Breaks Red Record in Victory at Army

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On Friday, the sprint football team pulled-off a come-from-behind win against Army and kept its hope of a CSFL title alive, despite an unfortunate turn of events more than 250 miles away.
With only 39 seconds left, senior quarterback Zak Dentes found junior wideout Upal Sarker on a 10-yard pass for the go-ahead score, and put the Red (4-2, 3-1 CSFL) possibly in a position to capture a share of the National title, depending upon the outcomes of games around the league next week.
Navy’s (5-0, 3-0 CSFL) victory over Penn in Annapolis this weekend puts the Midshipmen in the driver’s seat to win the CSFL championship if they can defeat Army this Friday.
“It was definitely high drama,” said Dentes in review of the final drive, which lasted 11 plays and 57 yards, driven mainly by an aerial attack.
“We ran the same thing two plays in a row,” Dentes said, referring to the final play that put the Red in the lead. “After the first throw [which was incomplete], Upal smacked his chest pad as if to say ‘he had it.’ Then we ran the same play, Upal ran a nice slant, and we hit him right on the goal line.”
The defense would then go on to hold Army in the following drive, as a potential-game winning 50-plus yard field goal just missed the uprights.
Sarker finished the game with 5 receptions for 40 yards and the one score.
“He’s a play-maker,” said Dentes about his reliable receiver. “He’s one of the taller guys on the team and very fast. With his size, he’s able to surprise you sometimes and come over the top to make a catch.”
Dentes had another outstanding performance in a long sprint career marked by countless accolades. The senior passer went 22-for-43 in pass attempts, with 226 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
With a 15-yard completion to senior receiver Josh Friedman in the first possession of the second half, Dentes became Cornell’s all-time leading career passer, eclipsing Dave Zittel’s ’88 previous record.
“I’m really happy to be considered with a guy like Dave Zittel” Dentes said. “I have been pretty fortunate to have three years to play. Most guys don’t have that chance.”
The defense had another strong game, allowing 46 yards rushing and holding Army to only one third-down conversion in 16 opportunities.
Additionally, the Black Knights’ offense managed only one play inside Red territory in the entire first quarter.
“We prepared really well, we really knew what they were doing [offensively]. You have to credit the coaches for that,” said senior linebacker John Parke, who finished the day with 12 total tackles and 2.5 sacks.
“We were able to pressure the quarterback, and they’re mostly a passing offense.”
This weekend the Red was happy to welcome back junior starting running back DJ Schiavetta to the lineup, who had been sidelined for two weeks with a knee injury.
“I felt great. I’m glad to be out there and contribute,” said Schiavetta.
Senior Ryan Smith, who had filled-in for the injured Schiavetta the past two weeks, saw a majority of the carries, rushing the ball 13 times for 19 yards.
“Ryan’s been playing great, been filling-in really well,” said Schiavetta.
In general, the running game struggled against Army, accumulating only 33 yards on the ground.
“They’re a really tough run defense,” said Schiavetta.
Because the CSFL title is based upon in-conference record, the Red’s final game next Friday against Mansfield University won’t count towards their quest for a championship. The team however, isn’t taking the last match-up of the season lightly. On Sunday, the team had an unusual two-hour practice in preparation for the upcoming weekend.
“Nothing would be a bigger loss for us than to lose our last game,” said Dentes, who, along with the other seniors, has played his final CSFL game of his sprint career, and looks to close out the season with pride, and potentially, a share of a conference title. untangles almost angst-ridden aardvarks.