WEST POINT - The 2013 sprint football season began with a daunting task for Penn -- a date with defending CSFL champion Army. Despite taking the first lead of the game on a long touchdown in the second quarter, the Quakers were not able to hold off the Black Knights in a 35-12 loss.
As one would expect in the first game of the season, it took time for both sides to get any traction on offense. Penn had the longest drive of the first quarter in terms of plays ran -- running nine plays on its third drive of the quater -- but managed just seven total yards after a holding penalty and a sack halted any momentum.
On its first full drive of the second quarter, Penn found paydirt on a long passing play from Braccia to Epstein. After a holding penalty pushed Penn to 1st-and-20 from its own 34, Braccia found Epstein for a 66-yard completion with 10:04 to play in the first half.
The Black Knights would answer quickly, marching 60 yards downfield for their first touchdown of the game. The score came via the air, Nathan Wartski connecting with Lane Holmes from 25 yards out.
In the final minute of the first half, Army seized momentum via a two-play drive which resulted in a 24-yard touchdown from Wartski to Kevin O'Brien. The Black Knights needed just the pair of plays to go 44 yards in 27 seconds to take a lead they would never relinquish.
Trailing, 21-6, midway through the third quarter, Penn found a bit of momentum -- again in the arm of Braccia. On 2nd-and-10 from the Army 40, he connected with running back Mike Beamish to climb the Quakers back in the game. Down by nine, Penn looked to score on the two-point conversion to make it a one score affair, Braccia was incomplete.
It was another quick strike from Army which sealed the game, the Black Knights needing 41 seconds to go 40 yards. All the work was done by Marqus Burrell as the running back rattled off runs of 10, 12 and 18 yards. 25 seconds into the fourth quarter, Wartski added a third touchdown pass as he found Lane Holmes for an 87-yard touchdown.
Robert Dioro made an impression in his first game on defense for the Quakers, recording 10 solo tackles and a sack. Stu Helgeson and Nick Rush each made six solo stops.
Penn opens its home slate on Sept. 20 against Mansfield at Franklin Field at 7 p.m.