PHILADELPHIA Sprint football begins its season with the annual Alumni Game on Saturday. Game time is 12:00 p.m. at Franklin Field. The game is the traditional start of the season for the Quakers.
The weekend festivities will commence with a banquet on Friday night honoring the history of sprint football program, as well as the undefeated 1996 ELFL championship team as well.
Head coach Bill Wagner returns for his 38th season leading the Quakers. He hopes that the team can build off last season’s 2-4 record and compete for a CSFL championship.
The road to the title begins with the annual Alumni Game. The 14th annual meeting between the current Quakers and those who came before them is vital to the team both on and off the field.
“The alumni are the lifeblood of our program,” Wagner said. “Without them, there is no sprint football. They come back year after year and support us.”
Last year, the varsity and the alumni engaged in a hard-fought battle, with the varsity pulling out a 13-8 victory. This year looks to be another close game, with some of the players who defeated the alumni in 2006 joining them in 2007.
Reuniting for the alumni are the school record-holders in career passing and receiving yards. Mike Loguidice and Patrick Monaghan teamed up for two seasons in the Red and Blue, and hope to rekindle the magic this weekend.
The 2007 Quakers are led by junior quarterback Michael D'Angelo. The dual threat to run and pass will add a new dimension to the offense. When D’Angelo does hand the ball off, those duties will be handled by a group of players including Max Greenky, Albert Tsai and Rob Lombardi. Freshman Mike Bagnoli should also see action in the backfield.
When the Quakers choose to air it out, Tomas Altamirano will see the ball come his way most often. The speedster is capable of stretching the field. The deep threat of Altamirano should open the middle of the field for tight end Marten Basta. Other options for D’Angelo include Jordan Marin and Michael Stack.
Defensively, the Quakers return their leading tackler from last year in linebacker Mike McMullen. Thirty of his 44 tackles were unassisted. Senior captain Andrew Migdail led Penn in sacks last year. Andrew Feigenbaum, Christian Corrigan and Kyle Kekesien will also be counted on to shut down the opposition.
Special teams can change a game in an instant, and the Quakers hope they have that game-breaker in Altamirano. He was the leading return man for Penn last year, averaging 19.4 yards per punt return and 21.4 yards on kick returns.
The kicking game is wide open with the graduation of Peter Stine. Two freshmen, Mark Dziemianowicz and Raiam Santos, are battling for the kicking and punting jobs.
After the Alumni Game, Penn travels to Ithaca, N.Y. to take the field versus the Big Red of Cornell on September 14. The Quakers then play at home on September 28 against rival Princeton. On October 12, Penn is on the road again for a game against Army. Back-to-back home games follow against Cornell and Navy on October 20 and 26. Penn finishes it 2007 season at Princeton on November 2.