“Our focus this year has been to finish games,” explained Cornell sprint football head coach Bart Guccia. The Red did just that in its 33-7 victory over Mansfield on Saturday, completing a 26-0 run over the last three quarters. The victory extended the Red’s (1-0) career undefeated streak against Mansfield (0-1).
“Both the offense and defense did an excellent job in closing out the game,” Guccia said. “The defense shut them out after their initial score, and the offense was able to put some points on in the fourth quarter and seal the deal.”
“Both sides of the ball executed and finished in the second half and especially in the fourth quarter,” senior offensive co-captain and wide receiver Trevor Marrero added. “Our defense shut them out after their first score, and we possessed the ball on offense and limited mistakes.”
Junior quarterback Rob Pannullo had a good game, passing for 116 yards and two touchdowns and adding on 72 rushing yards.
Defensively, senior linebacker Jino Park played very well, with seven unassisted tackles and an interception he returned for a touchdown.
Marrero said he is extremely proud of the team’s defensive performance.
“The fumble recovery in the second quarter and then Jino Park’s interception return changed the course of the game,” he said. “It made our job on offense a lot easier.”
It was an all-around solid effort from everyone on the field.
“The defense and special teams stepped up and made plays,” Marrero said. “Rob [Pannullo] managed the game extremely well, and Ryan Jackson’s punting was phenomenal.”
The only problem Guccia noticed was in terms of penalties.
“We might have committed a few unnecessary penalties I thought we shouldn’t have done,” he said. “Other than that we played a very solid game.”
Guccia and the Red will take the momentum from this victory into practice this week to prepare for the game against Franklin Pierce on Saturday.
“We have to go out on the road and prepare for another tough game,” Guccia said. “It’s always tough to go on a long trip and play well.”
Each week of practice is essential for success in sprint football. Because there are no playoffs, the Red must treat each week like it’s the last of the season. A midseason loss could determine a league championship, as the final league standings represent which team is champion.
Penn soundly defeated Franklin Pierce 51-7 on Saturday in the team’s season opener, but Guccia emphasized that the Red should not use this as a confidence boost. No road game is ever an easy task.
Cornell beat the Ravens, 28-7, in last season’s opener but lost to them two years ago, 13-6.
“We started watching film on [Franklin Pierce’s] game this past weekend against Penn,” Marrero said. “We want to build off of the positives from the Mansfield game and, as always, finish.”