Oct. 28, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
With the game tied at 14, the Navy sprint football team scored 28 second-half points and went on to defeat Cornell, 42-21, on Friday night at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. With the win, Navy remains atop the Collegiate Sprint Football League with a conference record of 5-0 and an overall mark of 6-0.
Navy's win sets up a CSFL title game next Friday at Army, which is also undefeated in league play.
"We've gotten better over the past three weeks, but our rustiness showed tonight," said Navy head coach Maj. Mitch Maury. "But, we made some halftime adjustments and were able to put up some points."
Prior to the game, Navy honored its 12 seniors, which proved fitting as one of those 12 - running back Marty Meehan - put Navy on the scoreboard on its opening drive and scored the first two touchdowns of the game.
Meehan scored on a three-yard run on Navy's initial drive of the game, and then with 5:19 remaining in the second quarter, he charged into the end zone from one yard out to boost the Mids' lead to 14-0.
The Navy defense limited Cornell to a total of just five yards on its first six possessions before the Big Red put together a scoring drive late in the second quarter.
Trailing 14-0, the Big Red went 77 yards in nine plays to score its first touchdown of the game with 59 seconds to play in the half.
On the ensuing kickoff, Cornell kicker John Rodriguez sent a low boot toward the return team that ricocheted off a Navy player, allowing the Big Red to recover the loose ball.
A 52-yard pass play from Brendan Miller to Spenser Gruenedfelder then got the Big Red to the 2-yard line and one play later, Miller hit Ramond King with a pass for a touchdown.
The extra point tied the game at 14 with 30 seconds remaining in the half.
Despite the quick change in momentum, Maury was confident the Mids would keep their composure.
"We showed we can comeback from adversity against Mansfield a few weeks ago," said Maury, whose team came back from a 12-point deficit to defeat Mansfield. "That showed me a lot and proved we could do it.
"We went in the locker room and made our adjustments and I lit a fire under them to come out and perform in the second half."
Like they did to begin the game, the Midshipmen again marched to the end zone on their first drive of the half. Quarterback Lewis Correale found Drew Presnell in the end zone on a 15-yard pass play to cap the nine-play, 60-yard scoring drive that gave Navy a 21-14 lead.
A pair of three-and-outs by the Cornell offense gave Navy back the ball with under three minutes to play in the third quarter and the Mids took advantage of a short field to double their lead.
After taking over at Cornell's 19-yard line, David Williams scored just three plays later on a 10-yard scamper to make the score 28-14.
The Cornell offense kept the Big Red in the game as with 13:40 to play, Miller dove into the end zone from the 1-yard line to tighten the score at 28-21.
The Navy defense forced two more three-and-outs on the next two possessions, giving the offense a chance to seal the game.
With the ball deep in Cornell territory, Correale connected with senior Jordan Foley on a third-and-8 play from the 20-yard line. Foley made a couple of defenders miss near the middle of the field and then broke free to the end zone as Navy reclaimed its two-touchdown advantage, 35-21.
Just over two minutes later, Williams scored his second TD of the day - a 16-yard run - to cap the scoring and give Navy a 42-21 victory.
Williams, the CSFL's leading rusher, finished the game with 174 yards on a season-high 34 carries.
"David is a workhorse and if you keep giving him the ball, he is going to bust loose," Maury said. "He runs with power and speed and is able to break long runs."
Defensively, Navy held Cornell (2-4, 2-4 CSFL) to 157 yards of total offense and forced the Big Red to punt 11 times.
Matt Piotrowicz led Navy with 10 tackles, while Julian Jerzerick and Chris Mershon both finished with two sacks.
Army and Navy will close out the season next Friday, Nov. 5 at West Point, with both the Star and CSFL title on the line.