PHILADELPHIA - The Penn Sprint Football team tuned up for its 2013 season with a 26-12 victory its annual Alumni Game at Franklin Field on Saturday. Freshman quarterback Mike McCurty threw for 103 yards and a touchdown, while senior running back Mike Beamish ran for 92 and a score.
After a pair of punts to open the game, the Alumni struck first. The graduates started at midfield and worked their way into the red zone. Mike Bagnoli skirted 15 yards to the one-yard line and then punched it in on the next play. The Alumni led 6-0 after the missed extra point.
Penn needed just six plays to take its first lead. Beamish capped the team's first scoring drive when he scampered nine yards up the middle to put the Quakers up 7-6 with 22:02 left in the first half.
The Alumni immediately responded when the program's all-time leading receiver, Whit Shaw, hauled in a 70-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the ensuing drive. A missed two-point conversion left the Alumni up 12-7.
However, the varsity went into the locker room with the lead. With 27 seconds left in the half, Mike McCurty found from eight yards out to cap a 14-play, 67-yard drive.
The second half opened in the same fashion in which the first half ended - with another varsity touchdown. It took just four plays before Keith Braccia broke free and ran 35 yards for the score and a 20-12 lead.
That score stuck until the final minutes. The Alumni were poised to tie it up and drove to the varsity 30-yard line. But a fourth-down pass was broken up in the end zone by Stu Helgesonith 6:46 to play.
The Alumni forced a punt and had another shot to drive for the tying score, but on the first play of the drive, Helgeson stepped in front of Todd Busler's pass for the game-clinching interception.
For insurance, the varsity punched it into the end zone one more time when Robert Diorio scored from six yards out with 37 seconds left.
In all, the varsity accumulated 259 yards on the ground and had three rushing touchdowns. In addition to Beamish's 92 yards, Joe Raso had 61 and Braccia finished with 56. Braccia also passed for 40 yards. Brendan Dale and Freddy Ordonez were the top receivers with three catches apiece for 41 and 40 yards, respectively.
Defensively, Diorio and Derek Shnider led the team with 5.5 tackles each. Diorio had two of the team's three sacks and Jeff Barsamian added the third. Mario del Cueto had an interception and Jack Howerton forced a fumble in the first half.
Penn officially opens the 2013 season on Friday when they head to West Point to take on Army. The home opener is Sept. 20 against Mansfield. Both are 7 p.m. kickoffs.