Cornell sprint football (1-5) took on Caldwell (5-1) last Saturday afternoon and came up short at the end of a hard-fought game. Though not many would have predicted a close game between two teams with such a differential in wins on the year, the Red stayed in the game until the final quarter.
“We went in and gave it a valiant effort,” said senior quarterback Xavier Martinez. “It was a shootout until the last five minutes when we let the game slip away from us.”
Coming off of a win last week, the Red had hoped to build on that momentum to carry the team through the final two weeks of the season. Though the score did not ultimately reflect a win for the Red, their performance does reflect a change in momentum as the final game of the season approaches.
“Caldwell came up victorious,” Martinez added. “But I don’t think that’s a true representation of our efforts and how we truly played.”
Cornell was able to put up 20 points in the loss, only three of which came in the fourth quarter. This turned out to be the difference between winning and losing as Caldwell led by only three points at the end of the third quarter. But the effort shown by the Red was undeniably a massive improvement from the beginning of the season.
Caldwell’s only loss on the season came against sprint football powerhouse Navy, who is currently sitting at 6-0 on the season. In that game, Caldwell held Navy to 26 points; Cornell was able to score 20. Looking into the Red’s own matchup against Navy, Navy won in grand fashion, shutting out Cornell 55-0.
In Saturday’s game, the strength of Caldwell’s attack was the ground game. Caldwell’s rushing attack combined for 337 yards and five touchdowns, whereas much of Cornell’s yards came through the air. Xavier Martinez completed 14 pass attempts for 268 yards and a pair of scores. He also threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a fourth quarter touchdown. By contrast, Caldwell had only 64 passing yards on the day.
Both teams had possession time during the game, but again, that fourth quarter was where Caldwell was able to pull away. Entering the fourth quarter at a 20-20 tie, Caldwell was able to score three touchdowns to put the game on ice. Following the loss, all that is left for the Red to do is to reflect on the positives of the game and prepare for its final game of the season.
Next up for the Red is a trip to Saint Thomas Aquinas College (2-4) in what should be an exciting and winnable matchup. The team will leave on Friday for a 7 p.m. game and will return the same night. Cornell is looking forward to building on the small victories throughout the season and showing off its growth and development.
“I certainly think that we’re able to take this momentum that’s been progressing week after week to our final game and play a very competitive game,” Martinez concluded.