Sprint Football Sacks Mansfield, 16-13

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Ho-Hum. Another game, another wild finish for Penn in sprint football action.

This time, it was Penn's defense which came through, punishing Mansfield to the tune of nine quarterback sacks, paving the way for a 20-yard Kai Peng field goal with 1:02 remaining to give Penn a 16-13 win over the Mountaineers at Franklin Field.

Mack Pierson was the leader of the gang making Michael Doyle's nigh a rough one, factoring in on 3.5 sacks - part of a seven-tackle, five-tackle for loss night. He added a fumble recovery for good measure, one of two for the Quakers. Matt Pellegrino made six solo tackles and broke up one pass, while Carl Wittig was in on 3.5 tackles for a loss as part of his six-stop evening - 2.5 of those stops resulting in sacks.

Despite allowing 208 yards passing and two touchdowns in the air, it was the timeliness of Penn's big defensive plays which makes them meaningful. Penn's defensive effort in a microcosm is evident in its play in the final 11 minutes of the game. After conceding a tying field goal, Penn forced a three-and-out its next time on the field, and followed that up by limiting Mansfield to just four plays before forcing a punt. The Mountaineers boomed a line drive which mixed up Whit Shaw, glancing off his hands and into the waiting arms of Mansfield's Da'Shawn Serrano at the Penn two-yard line, setting Mansfield up for an extremely short field to break the tie.

Instead of wilting, Penn's defense clamped down. John Brockington brought Mansfield one yard closer to the endzone first down, denied at the one by Wittig. On the next play, Wittig was again in the backfield, knocking the ball out of Doyle's hand before he could hand it off, only Brockington's quick pounce off the ball keeping Mansfield in possession. After a Mountaineer timeout, Ed Cai stormed into the backfield on third down, sacking Doyle for a loss of 15 to bring up fourth and goal from the Penn 21. Doyle went to the endzone, but Shaw atoned for his earlier fumble with a pass breakup to force the turnover on downs.

The defensive stand gave Penn momentum, and as it has done in its previous two games, Penn stormed down the field in a late-game setting. The Quakers went 77 yards on 11 plays - all except 15 yards in a Mansfield personal foul coming on the ground - to set up Peng's field goal attempts. All three of Penn's featured runners had a hand in the drive, Mike Beamish gaining 24 yards, Keith Braccia 13 and Joe Raso accounting for 14.

Penn still had work to do, leaving Mansfield over a minute to counter - even more so after Jeremy Estremera returned the kickoff 32 yards to Mansfield's 35. The Mountaineers had 50 seconds and one timeout to work with. It took just four plays for Mansfield to reach the Penn 30, setting up first down with under 15 seconds to play. On first down, Doyle's pass to David Wallace was incomplete under pressure from the defense. On second down, Pierson made one last big play on his final sack of the evening bringing Doyle down 11 yards behind the line of scrimmage and forcing Mansfield to take timeout with :02 left on the clock. Doyle's pass on third down was incomplete, Jack Miller finishing his fine Friday with the breakup.

Seven different players factored in on at least one tackle in the backfield for the Quakers, with five of them picking up at least a half a sack in the process. Wittig and Anthony DiBella each forced a fumble, Pierson and Miller picking them up. Shaw was in on two pass breakups, part of six for the secondary.

Mike Beamish was again over 100 yards on the ground, finishing with 123 yards on 26 carriers to go with one 15-yard reception which was good for Penn's first touchdown of the game. The Quakers did not have much going in the passing game as Mansfield flooded its secondary with cornerbacks to limit Keith Braccia to 5-of-15 with one touchdown and an interception. Braccia did have 44 yards rushing, including a 1-yard score in the second quarter and a 19-yard bootleg off a pass option at the start of Penn's game-winning drive.

The Quakers improve to 2-1 overall, and move to 1-1 inside the CSFL. The Red and Blue have work to do, though, looking up at four teams, including CSFL-leading Army which visits Franklin Field Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

Download: Mansfield Box.pdf