November 14, 2015

Cornell Football’s Seniors Make a Huge Impact in Their Final Home Game

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Senior JJ Fives had a sack on senior day for the Red. (Courtesy of Dave Burbank)

Senior JJ Fives had a sack on senior day for the Red. (Courtesy of Dave Burbank)

When head coach David Archer ’05 walked into the press conference after the 3-0 victory over Columbia all he could do was smile.

“That’s my opening statement right there,” Archer said with a laugh.

For Cornell (1-8, 1-5) football, losers of its first eight games, a win, no matter how ugly, was appreciated by all. All season, whether after a close defeat or a blowout loss, Archer has praised his team’s resiliency. And now, after his team’s shutout of Columbia, he had the opportunity to really show the world just how mentally and physically tough his student-athletes really are.

“They don’t know the definition of the word quit,” Archer said. “They are resilient as hell.”

In a season littered with games full of “what if” moments, Cornell finally put together a full 60-minute effort against the Lions. The Red scored on its first drive and locked down Columbia to hang on for the victory.

All season Archer has spoken highly of the impact of his seniors on the field and off the field. Today was no different. Before the game, there was a ceremony honoring the seniors. One-by-one the seniors jogged across the field to greet their coaches and their families. It was a great moment for the players who have spent four years with the program.

But the real show for the seniors came during the game.

There was JJ Fives and Debo Sodeke flying in out of nowhere to sack Columbia’s quarterback.There was Julian Gallo crushing a Columbia punt returner. There was Jarrod Watson-Lewis and Rush Imhotep making open field tackles and locking down wide receivers. There was Luke Hagy churning out yard after yard, plowing his way into Columbia’s big front four. There was Zach Wilk and Dan Cunningham making holes for the running backs. There was Twan Terrell stuffing the Lions’ punter on a punt fake late in the game.

“I couldn’t be more happier for these seniors,” Fives said. “It’s a great way to send us off and keeping the cup in Ithaca.”

As Fives spoke, Archer smiled and nodded.

When asked what sort of drills his team would work on in preparation for next Saturday’s clash against Penn, Archer said “the celebration drill.”

“I certainly want to make sure that they do the celebration drill tonight and enjoy themselves,” Archer said. “They should. I’m not trying to make a joke. It’s been hard. They earned it.”