Navy Defeats Franklin Pierce In Sprint Football Season Opener, 23-9
Sept. 13, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy sprint football team used a well-rounded effort from both sides of the ball to earn a 23-9 win over Franklin Pierce on Friday night at home at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in the season opening contest for both teams.
A 23-3 run during the second and third quarters of the game would stake the Midshipmen to a lead that they would not relinquish as their defense held Franklin Pierce under 100 yards of total offense until the fourth quarter.
The trio of quarterback William Hampton (Jr., Charleston, S.C.), running back Eric Wellmon (So.,Wallkill, N.Y.) and wide receiver Tracy Daniels (Sr., Jonesboro, Ga.) led Navy’s offensive to the majority of the team’s 315 total yards, while lineman Christopher Mershon (Jr., Lee’s Summit, Mo.), linebacker Matthew Piotrowicz (Sewell, N.J.) and defensive back Alec McGlaughlin (Sr., State College, Pa.) spearheaded Navy’s stingy defense.
“It wasn’t a perfect game, but it’s a positive result that I’ll take. We got strong production from both units” said Navy head coach Maj. Kavan Lake, USMC. “We’ll go back and work on improving some things, but overall not a bad start.”
The Mids opened the game’s scoring in the second quarter when Hampton found Daniels down the left sideline for a 69-yard touchdown connection. The longest play of the contest was setup by back-to-back hard-nosed rushes by Wellmon out of the backfield.
A Franklin Pierce field goal at 5:33 in the second quarter would make it a 7-3 margin, the closest the Ravens would get the rest of the game.
Coming out in the second half with both their running and passing games seemingly established the Mids would put 16 points on the scoreboard in a matter of 5:07.
After a 20-yard punt return by senior Brendan West (Meridan, Idaho) set the Mids up with great field position at Franklin Pierce’s 29 yard line, Hampton would connect with Daniels once again for a 16-yard touchdown at 8:43.
On the ensuing drive, a Mershon deflection of Ryan O’Kelly’s pass ended up in the hands of junior lineman Zac Blanchard (Orange, Texas) for an interception. Prior to this caused turnover, Mershon had made tackles on five of the previous six plays by the Ravens; he would finish 12 total in the game.
With the ball in Franklin Pierce’s side of the field, Navy would ride freshman running back James Lieto (Carlisle, Pa.) for 22 yards on the ground to set up an Adrian Montecinos (Sr., Whittier, Calif.) 32-yard field goal to make it 17-3 at 5:25.
Navy finished its scoring less than two minutes later courtesy of another forced turnover. McGlaughlin, who had an early interception, thwarted the Ravens again with his second pick of the game.
After McGlaughlin returned his interception to the Franklin Pierce three yard line, Hampton found sophomore Temple Sloan (Raleigh, N.C.) free off of the right side of the line for his first career reception and touchdown at 3:36 in the third quarter. This score by Hampton set a career-high for the junior, who had a previously only thrown for two total touchdowns in his first two years as a Midshipman.
“We wanted to establish a good running foundation to eventually open up our options in the passing game and I think we did a good job of balancing the two. When their defense started picking things up we made our adjustments and that showed in the second half” said Lake.
A fourth quarter touchdown by Franklin Pierce would close the scoring at 23-9 in favor of the host Mids.
For the game, Hampton finished with 128 yards on 10 of 24 passing, while Wellmon led the running corps with 89 yards on 17 carries. Daniels was on the receiving end of four of Hampton’s completions for 98 yards.
On defense, Mershon led the Mids with 12 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. Piotrowicz joined him in double figures with 11 stops. In addition to two interceptions by McGlaughlin and one by Blanchard, West gave Navy four picks in the contest.
“Our defense is always strong. That’s why I put them on the field first; I wanted to set the tone” said Lake.
“I’m very proud of the defense’s effort; I’m proud of the whole team” Lake said post-game. “The first half wasn’t great, but that’s why we train and train hard for the second half; it’s a 60 minute game.”
Navy will have its first road game of the season next Friday night, Sept. 20 when it travels to Princeton. Kickoff between the Mids and Tigers is slated for 7 p.m. at Princeton Stadium.