Sprint Football Kicks Off 2011 Season Friday

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PHILADELPHIA - After a thrilling alumni game that went down to the final seconds, sprint football is ready to get its official season underway. Up first for the Quakers will be a non-conference game with Ivy League rival Princeton. The game will get underway Friday night at 7 p.m., under the lights of Franklin Field.

The 2010 campaign was definitely one to remember for sprint football. In addition to capturing the program's sixth William R. Wagner Memorial trophy, the Quakers were co-champions of the CSFL. The 2010 squad went 6-1 overall, including a 24-14 win over Navy in the Allegiance Bowl. The CSFL Championship season was then capped off in a 70-0 rout of Princeton in the final game.

Offensively, the Quakers return seven All-CSFL honorees in 2011. Leading the offense in 2011 will be Todd Busler, who holds the Penn records in single-game passing yards, passing yards in a season, and passing yards for a career after three seasons under center. In 2010, he was named second-team All-CSFL after throwing for 1,031 yards and 11 touchdowns. Freshman Keith Braccia also saw substantial time under center in the alumni game.

Busler's favorite target, first-team All-CSFL wide receiver Whit Shaw, also returns for his junior campaign. In just two seasons, Shaw has already set Penn records for receiving yards in a season and a career. Last year, he caught 34 balls for 518 yards and seven touchdowns. He also went over 100 yards receiving in the alumni game a week ago. Mathew Wetherell, a second-team All-CSFL tight end, also caught 14 passes for 259 yards and a pair of touchdowns last season. Wide receiver Freddy Ordonez was also named to the All-CSFL team last year, earning honorable mention honors. He caught three passes while also playing defense in the Penn secondary.

In the ground game, Penn will have to replace Mike Bagnoli, the program's all-time leading rusher and CSFL MVP last season. In the alumni game, a trio of freshmen - Bronson Carpenter, Jeff Grimes, and Mike Beamish - split the carries in the backfield. Helping the youngsters out will be honorable mention All-CSFL offensive linemen Shane Curry and Jordan Colbert.

On the defensive side of the ball, five more players are returning after garnering All-CSFL accolades last year. Alexander Starr had a team-high 58 tackles, including 40 solo in 2010. He also had four and a half tackles for a loss on his way to being named a second-team All-CSFL linebacker. Junior Anthony DiBella was named a first-team All-CSFL defensive lineman last season after making 33 tackles, 21 of which were solo. He also had seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including two sacks and three forced fumbles. DiBella will also serve as a team captain this season.

Fellow defensive captain Matt Cuccinello earned honorable mention All-CSFL in 2010 after recording 31 tackles, including eight that resulted in negative plays for the offense. He also tied for the team-high in sacks with two and a half. Jack Miller returns to the defense after being named honorable mention All-CSFL in 2010. Had made 21 tackles in all and also had two and a half sacks. Sophomore Zach Plona and senior Justin Bass also had strong showings in the alumni game.

On special teams, Kai Peng and Michael Bass handled the extra points and field goal attempts in the alumni game. Peng also punted three times, while Beamish also took one snap as the punter. Shaw will be the primary return man for Penn. On kickoffs, Shaw averaged 29.2 yards per return and took two kicks back for touchdowns. He also returned 10 of Penn's 16 punts last season.

Last year, Penn took care of Princeton twice. In the first game, the Quakers went on the road and defeated Princeton 48-12 behind a huge night on the ground by Bagnoli. In the final game of the 2010 season, Princeton was not going to stand in the way of Penn's bid at the CSFL Championship. In the season finale at Franklin Field, Penn routed Princeton 70-0. In that game, Busler threw for over 200 yards, while Shaw had 128 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

The Quakers will be looking for similar results when they open the 2011 campaign inside Franklin Field on Friday night. Live stats as well as Radio from Penn Sports Network will be available for this game and every home game in 2011.