Penn Football Takes New Turf for a Test Drive

Philadelphia - The Quakers invited Widener into Franklin Field for their preseason scrimmage for the grand old stadium's first football action of 2004. For the coaching staff, it was a chance to see how much progress the team has made since camp opened. For the student-athletes, it was a chance to put the new Sprinturf that now blankets this historic stadium to the test as well as toe the line against someone else besides their teammates.

The Red and Blue were methodic through most of the first half, mixing up the offense with the run and the pass. Junior quarterback Pat McDermott hooked up with senior wide receiver Dan Castles down the sideline for over 20yards early in the first quarter, a sight many Penn fans hope to see much more of this season.Chris Mizell also caught his fairshare of passesfrom the tight end position.

In the backfield, Sam Mathews punched in a score while Michael Recchiuti took a pair of runs to the house. Full back Kevin DeSmedt busted across the goal line from three yards out and Kyle Ambrogi scampered 54 yards for theRed and Blue's final trip into the end zone. The ability to score on the ground will be something to build on for an offensive line that returns one letterwinner.

WhilePenn was able toput points on the board, the defense stepped upandheld the Pioneersin check for most of the afternoon.

Often the scrimmage is used asa litmus test prior to the beginning of the season. Although the Quakers had success, they know the true test lies in the West as Penn makes its first football trip to California sincethe 1955season. The 2004 campaign kicks off against the Unversity of San Diego at 1 p.m. (PST) on Sept. 18 in Torero Stadium.

Written by Mat Kanan, associate director of athletic communications