Sprint Football Notches 27-17 Win in Season Opener
CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. -- The Navy sprint football team (1-0) posted a 27-17 victory on the road against Chestnut Hill (0-1) at Garthwaite Stadium in Conshohocken, Pa. on Friday evening. The two teams were tied 10-10 late in the second quarter before the Midshipmen rattled off 17 consecutive points to take control of the game.
"I think we learned a lot as a team and a coaching staff," said Major Jeff Polson, USMC. "You don't know where your team is at coming into the season. This was good start to the season. There is a lot to work on. We had a lot of mistakes. I don't take that as a bad thing as we were able to come out with a win. The mental mistakes we had were things that we can fix, which is a good thing moving forward. This is a great team; a developing team. This is their third year in the league. They have recruited a lot of great athletes. They are going to do some great things and we were lucky to get out with a win tonight."
The Mids had a balanced running game with four players -- Brandon Coleman (Yonkers, N.Y.), Stefano Saragusa (Haines City, Fla.), Luis Castillo (Mason, Texas), and Caleb Champion (Milton, Fla.) -- each recording over 30 yards on the ground on the night. The foursome combined for 223 yards and a touchdown. Coleman led the way with 74 yards and a TD, while Saragusa added 57 yards. Castillo and Champion notched 39 and 33 yards on the ground, respectively. Brian McLaughlin (Melrose, Mass.) tallied 18 yards on seven carries, but led the team with two touchdowns.
In the air, Coleman finished the game 5-for-8 for 76 yards with a long of 46. He hit three different receivers -- Matt Vogel (Upper Saddle River, N.J.), J.T. Thompson (Stratham, N.H.), and Sam Shaunak (Collierville, Tenn.) -- on the night. Shaunak hauled down the big 45-yard reception late in the first half, while Vogel (18 yards) and Thompson (13 yards) each had a pair of receptions each.
Placekicker Jared Swenson (Seymour, Wis.) finished the night with nine points in the game. The sophomore notched a pair of field goals, while adding three point after attempts.
In the first half, the Griffins used a 12-play drive that covered 62 yards to take an early 3-0 lead with 7:07 remaining in the first quarter. The drive was capped with a 26-yard field goal by kicker Dante Fuchs. The Midshipmen were able to tie the score at 3-3 with an 8-play drive that covered 33 yards. Swenson capped the drive with a 41-yard field goal to knot the score with 3:35 to play in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Navy took its first lead of the 2017 season as McLaughlin plunged one yard into the end zone to cap a 66-yard drive by the Mids.
Up 10-3, the Midshipmen forced a punt and took control of the ball. The first play from scrimmage saw Coleman get sacked and fumble the ball. Chestnut Hill's Kevin Meredith emerged with the loose ball and ran 44 yards to the end zone with the game-tying score.
Just before halftime, Navy forced a Chestnut Hill punt with 13 ticks on the clock. Coleman hit Shaunak down the field for 45 yards to set up a Swenson field goal as time expired in the opening half to put the Midshipmen atop, 13-10.
In the second half, the Mids took the opening kickoff and marched down the field 51 yards on six plays. The drive was capped by a 24-yard jaunt by Coleman to put the visitors on top 20-10.
Navy ended the third quarter with a long sustained drive to close out the period. When play resumed in the fourth quarter, McLaughlin plunged three-yards into the end zone for his second score of the game, putting the Mids in front 27-10.
Chestnut Hill trimmed the Navy lead to 10 points with a touchdown with just under nine minutes to play. The Girffins' quarterback Reggie Robinson Jr. hurled a 36-yard strike to Michael Marino in the end zone for the score.
The home team had two final chances to try to close the gap, but the Midshipmen defense thwarted both attempts. After obtaining the ball by recovering a fumble at midfield, Chestnut Hill drove nearly 20 yards on three plays before Tommy Guinan (Elmhurst, Ill.) intercepted a Robinson pass to stop the scoring opportunity. Chestnut Hill got the ball back with 85 seconds remaining on the game clock. The Griffins picked up a first down at the five yardline, but were stopped at the two by Luke Coughlin (Islip, N.Y.) as time expired, preserving the 10-point victory.
Navy returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 23, as the Midshipmen travel to play Mansfield in a Collegiate Sprint Football League contest. The game is slated for 12:00 p.m.