September 15, 2013

SPRINT FOOTBALL: Despite Halftime Lead, C.U. Unable to Top Post

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A promising season got off to a disappointing start on Saturday, as the Cornell sprint football team came up short in Waterbury, CT. The Red (0-1 CSFL) fell to the Post Eagles (1-0), 21-10, in what proved to be a back-and-forth contest from the very first play. “Post returned the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, which isn’t exactly how you want to start a game,” said junior defensive back Chris Sitko. “But the offense [on the] next drive definitely bounced right back.” Facing a 7-0 deficit on the team’s first possession, senior quarterback Brendan Miller hit fifth-year wide receiver Spenser Gruenenfelder for a 48-yard gain to set up an eventual four-yard touchdown pass to sophomore running back Ben Herrera. “[Spenser’s catch came during] a third-and-long, and that definitely gave everybody the spark they needed to continue,” Sitko said. “So when we scored on that drive to tie it up, it was like a whole new game.” A 27-yard field goal by senior kicker John Rodriguez gave the Red a 10-7 lead going into the half. The kick was among several first half scoring chances made possible by the Miller-Gruenenfelder connection, which was anything but a certainty heading into the season. “[Gruenenfelder] was impressive as always,” Miller said. “I was particularly impressed with having had him just walk in, pretty much, and being just as solid as he has been. He hasn’t practiced very much with us. He was actually going to be an assistant coach with us … and then they found out he was going to be able to play.” Despite already having four years of experience under his belt, Gruenenfelder was granted an extra year of eligibility because he was hurt for the majority of his freshman season. The veteran receiver led the team with seven catches for 132 yards against Post. “The only issue with him was getting the league to clear him and just double checking to make sure his status would still allow him to be an eligible player,” Miller said. “So he got cleared by everybody … He only really had one or two days where he was really getting reps, just because we weren’t quite sure what his eligibility was.” Complementing the Red’s passing attack was freshman running back Kevin Nathanson, who racked up 42 yards on nine carries. “Kevin Nathanson at running back was someone I was very

Photo: By Abhisek Shah / File PhotoSenior kicker John Rodriguez connected on a 27-yard field goal to give the Red a 10-7 halftime lead, but the squad could not hold on against Post.