Despite losing nine seniors to graduation, the University of Pennsylvania sprint football team will return most of its offensive unit that exploded for 2,524 yards of total offense last season. The Quakers also return several key components from the defense and will field a strong freshman class. The sky is the limit for the Red and Blue as they go on the hunt for a Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL) Championship.
“I think we have a very good team this season,” Head Coach Bill Wagner said. “We think we’re going to be a real contender. We have the strongest freshman class in recent memory and have several key players coming back.”
The Signal Caller
Junior Mike Loguidice will return for his second full season calling the plays for the Quakers after a phenomenal 2004 season. The first-team All-CSFL selection threw for 1,286 yards on 87-for-130 passing, setting the new single-season record. He also threw for 230 or more yards on three occasions. He currently stands in fifth on the career list with 1,437 yards.
Rookies Michael D’Angelo and William Johnson may also see some time at quarterback. Both are solid all-round athletes as D’Angelo may see time at defensive back while Johnson may see action at linebacker.
The Quakers rushing unit remains intact as two of the top-four leading rushers return.
Leading rusher J.T. Hutchinson will look to repeat his numbers from one year ago. Hutchinson posted a team-high 11 touchdowns and rushed for 741 yards, including four games with more than 100 yards, en route to garnering first-team All-CSFL honors. The junior tail back also finished fourth on the team in receiving with 165 yards and averaging 20.6 yards per catch.
Sophomore Stephen Delgado will also look to add to the offensive mix at running back. Delgado finished third on the team in rushing with 133 yards and averaged 5.1 per carry. He also crossed the goal line three times.
Senior captain Kevin Piro returns for his final season in the Red and Blue. He caught 11 passes last season for 109 yards and a touchdown. Piro also rushed for 20 yards on five carries.
Sophomore Albert Tsai also posted solid numbers and will return as a tailback. Tsai posted 104 yards and averaged more than 20 yards per game. Scott Pickett will join the running game as well.
Masamba Sinclair returns as a fullback and linebacker after missing the 2004 due to injury. Freshman Max Greenky may see time at both tail back and fullback. Greenky comes to Penn after a solid career at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Tight End
Senior David Derr will again take over the duties at tight end. The first-team All-CSFL selection finished second on the team in receiving with 217 yards on 13 catches, averaging 14.3 yards per catch and 36.2 per game. He also scored three touchdowns.
The Receiving Unit
A major force will be missing from the receiving corps this season as all-time leading receiver Patrick Monaghan graduated in 2005. However, the Quakers will look to seniors Greg Herman and Corey Higa and sophomore Tomas Altamirano to step-up and fill the void.
Herman appeared in four games last season, posting 75 yards on five catches. The Westport, Conn. native also ran in for a touchdown against Cornell. Higa played in five games, catching five passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. Altamirano, who was also used on special teams, averaged 16.2 yards per catch last season.
Newcomers Alex Lasry and Michael Brous may also see time as wide receivers.
The Offensive Line
The offensive line will again be strong as it returns three All-CSFL honorees. The offensive line helped the Quakers earn 2,524 yards of total offense, nearly doubling the total from the previous season.
Senior captains Ben Drane and Hank Watson and fellow senior Jordan Cloyd will again anchor the line. Drane earned first-team All-CSFL honors while Cloyd picked up second-team All-CSFL accolades.
Sophomore Mike Sanders will return to his role as center. Sanders had an outstanding rookie season earning an honorable mention All-CSFL honors and received Penn’s Thomas A. Stilwell Award for Most Outstanding Freshman. Junior Andrew McGregor will also return the offensive line after a solid season with the Quakers.
The Red and Blue will have a number of talented newcomers join the offensive line and make an impact right away. With local product Joseph Crisanti from Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia, Manasquan, N.J. native and Brian O’Connell at guard, the line has a considerable amount of depth.
The Defensive Line
The defensive line will be missing All-CSFL and leading tackler Mike Russo, who graduated last year, but the core of the unit returns and will look to stop opponents in their tracks.
The defensive line will be anchored by seniors Duncan Pelly, Nick Kopec and Adam Wolfson. Pelly, an honorable mention for All-CSFL and team captain, appeared in all six games last season with 23 tackles, including 16 solo. Kopec finished fourth on the team with 34 tackles, including 25 solo and 10.5 for a combined loss of 52 yards. He had a breakout performance in Penn’s crucial win over Army with eight tackles and three sacks and earned CSFL Defensive Player of the Week honors. Wolfson appeared in all six games with 14 tackles.
Rookie Christian Corrigan, a power lifting champion from Wichita, Kan., will also see time on the line.
The Defensive Backs & Ends
Junior Nick Dinges will lead the linebackers. Dinges appeared in all six games and finished second on the team in tackles with 38, including 22 solo. Stephen Cavaliero and Brewster Stanislaw will also see time at linebacker.
The defensive backs will include Kale Roth, David Lopez and Chase Bender. Roth, a sophomore, had a solid rookie season with the Red and Blue with four pass break-ups, an interception and nine tackles. Penn will also welcome newcomers Peter Stevens, Andrew Feigenbaum and Michael Brous to the defensive end position.
Peter Stine will return to the spint football team after spending half the season on the varsity football team. Stine will against take over the kicking duties as primary field goal kicker for the Quakers while Loguidice will again be the punter. Last season, Loguidice punted for 429 yards, averaging 30.6 per punt, with his longest at 48 yards. Jim Gunther may also see sometime at kicker.
The Red and Blue have several options for their return men and will look to Hutchinson, Derr, Higa and Tsai, all of which have the ability to run the ball back. Hutchinson returned 11 kicks for 181 yards, while Derr averaged 11.5 yards per return and Higa posted a 22-yard run. David Dunning may also see time on special teams.
The Quakers will open the 2005 campaign with its annual Alumni Game on Sept. 10 on Franklin Field. The season officially begins on Sept. 16 as the Quakers travel to Cornell where they will look to avenge last season’s loss on the road to the Big Red. Penn returns home on Sept. 30 to take on Princeton.
The Quakers travel to West Point on Oct. 14 to take on Army. “Army certainly hasn’t forgotten last season’s loss to us on Franklin Field and are going to be very tough,” Wagner said. “But, if we beat Army on the road, we have a very good shot at winning the League.”
Penn returns home on Oct. 21 to host Cornell followed by Navy on Oct. 28 during a senior night match-up. The Quakers conclude the season at Princeton on Nov. 4.
“The key to the season will be beating Army and Navy, but we can’t look past our Ivy League rivals Cornell and Princeton,” Wagner said.
The Quakers are extremely focused on the 2005 season and possess the weapons to be one of the top teams in the CSFL as they embark on their quest for a league title.
-Written by Kelly McCarthy, athletic communications assistant