WEST POINT Penn sprint football announced its arrival as a force in the Collegiate Sprint Football League with a 13-12 victory over Army on Friday night. The win is the fifth in program history against the Black Knights. With the win, the Quakers up their record to 2-1 and are 1-0 in league play.
Neither team was able to score in the first quarter as both squads traded punts throughout the frame. Army had the best chance to score, marching 36 yards on ten plays to the Penn three-yard line before turning the ball over. On second and goal from the 4-yard line, Army quarterback Rob Miner rushed for a yard before Sam Biddle stripped the ball from him. Gage O'Connell quickly pounced on the ball and recovered the fumble.
The game remained scoreless until Penn put together a 14 play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Michael D'Angelo 1-yard rushing touchdown. D’Angelo completed five passes on the drive for 58-yards. The touchdown was setup by a 23-yard scamper by Rob Lombardi to the Army 2-yard line. The score was D’Angelo’s third rushing TD of the season. The Raiam Santos extra point was no good, leaving the score 6-0 in favor of Penn.
Penn held the lead by that score until there was 3:15 left in the third quarter. Chris Carnes unleashed a 42-yard punt that was downed at the Penn 1-yard line. On the ensuing play, Marten Basta was tackled inside his own endzone by Barrett Rife, resulting in a safety which made the score 6-2 Penn.
Army took the leas early in the fourth quarter on a touchdown pass from Abe Payne to Geoff Phillips from 15-yards out. The drive was setup when Penn was forced to punt from its own six-yard line. Mark Dziemianowicz’ punt resulted in a net gain of only 20 yards and gave Army that ball at the Penn 26. Five plays later, the score was Army 9, Penn 6.
The Black Knights extended their lead following a D’Angelo fumble at the Army 46-yard line. Army drove 34 yards before settling for a Samuel Hebert 34-yard field goal with 10:04 remaining in the game.
Tomas Altamirano took the ensuing kickoff at his own 10-yard line and returned it 23-yards to the Penn 33. D’Angelo hooked up with Basta three times on the drive for a total of 40 yards. Two penalties and a sack left Penn with second-and-22 from the Army 34-yard line. It was redemption time for D’Angelo as he connected with Clarke Armatis for a touchdown, knotting the score at 12-12.
Head coach Bill Wagner called upon Dziemianowicz for PAT duties this time and the freshman lined up for the most important kick of his young career. The kick was good and Penn led, 13-12.
Army went three-and-out on its next drive and punted the ball back to Penn with a chance to run out the clock. The Quakers were able to kill most of the time, but after a D’Angelo incompletion on third-and-nine were forced to punt.
Army started its final drive with 48 seconds on the clock and the ball at its own 23-yard line. Payne completed three quick passes including a 20-yard strike that resulted in a first down at the Penn 39-yard line. Payne’s next pass was incomplete, leaving one second to play. In lieu of a Hail Mary pass, the Black Knights lined up for a 56-yard field goal. Hebert’s kick was on line, but came up short as time expired, giving Penn its fifth win over Army in program history.
Lombardi gained 92 yards on 24 carries. D’Angelo completed 13 of 25 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown. Basta led all receivers with 72 yards on six catches. Sam Biddle was all over the field on defense, recording 17 tackles, including seven solo stops and the forced fumble that stopped Army’s momentum early in the game.
Penn returns home Saturday, October 20 to host defending CSFL champions Cornell at Franklin Field at 6 p.m.