Nov. 1, 2013
Final Stats |
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy sprint football team finished its 2013 season with a 34-14 home victory versus Penn at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Friday night. The Mids used a strong running attack to jump out to a 34-0 lead on the way to their sixth win of the year and sole possession of second place in the final CSFL standings.
Sophomore Eric Wellmon (Wallkill, N.Y.) led Navy's rushing offense with 191 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, while junior quarterback William Hampton (Charleston, S.C.) found success in the passing game with 165 yards through the air and a touchdown completion.
Defensively, senior Matthew Piotrowicz (Sewell, N.J.) had a season-high 16 tackles from his middle linebacker position. Sophomore Temple Sloan (Raleigh, N.C.) aided his linebacker-mate Piotrowicz, with six tackles, two for loss and a sack.
Senior defensive captain Brendan West (Meridian, Idaho) also had a strong performance as he made his presence felt on all three parts of the game with three tackles, 93 punt return yards and 25 rushing yards.
"This week we talked about getting back up when you fall down, that performance tonight is what I expected them to do," said Navy head coach Maj. Kavan Lake, USMC. "We believe a true man's character is not about how much you win, but how you respond when the chips are down. We saw that the guys rallied this week and came out real strong tonight."
Navy's ability to get over last week's disappointing loss at Army was tested immediately as Penn took the opening drive down to the Midshipmen's 26-yard line. After getting to 26, the Quakers were set back by an eight-yard loss as Sloan sacked Penn's quarterback Mike McCurdy. With a third down and 17 yards to go, Navy's defense stood strong as sophomore Dan Gilmore (Mansfield, Mass.) cut off a Penn receiver to intercept a McCurdy pass at the 10-yard line.
Over the next 12 minutes, both teams swapped possessions and pieced together long drives of eight of more plays, but neither were able to break through on the scoreboard until midway through the second quarter when the host Mids went up 6-0. After a 21-yard punt return by West set Navy up at Penn's 34, the Mids used Hampton's arm to tally completions of 11 and seven yards and find the end zone. At 8:51, Hampton hit Tracy Daniels (Jonesboro, Ga.) in stride for the senior's third touchdown reception of the season.
On the ensuing drive, a quick three-and-out by the Quakers and another lengthy punt return by West (15 yards) gave the Mids the ball at Penn's 39. With a short field, Navy relied on Hampton once again as the junior quarterback had 23 yards of completions and another 16 on the ground, including a one-yard rush for a touchdown at 4:33.
Coming out of the locker rooms with the score 13-0 in favor of the hosts, the Midshipmen would increase their lead to 27-0 with back-to-back touchdowns at 8:15 and 3:24 in the third quarter. A 61-yard catch and run by Dominic Chumich (Jr., Boise, Idaho) would highlight Navy's first scoring drive that was capped by a four-yard touchdown run by Wellmon. Less than five minutes later, West broke into the end zone from three yards out.
The Mids scored their fifth and final touchdown in the beginning of the fourth quarter at 14:55. In a three-play, 49 yard drive, Wellmon carried the ball all three times and broke off successive runs of 18, 22 and nine yards to earn his second touchdown of the game.
"With Corey [Garcia] unable to play, a lot of the load fell on Eric. When we've called on Eric this year he comes up big and we saw that tonight." exclaimed Lake. "It was also great see him get some help in the backfield from our senior captain Brendan West, who is typically on defense. Together they put up some great numbers."
With the score 34-0, Penn would notch two touchdowns over the final 12:05 to make it 34-14 final score.
For the game, Navy outgained Penn 451 to 227. On the strength of 28 tackles by the linebacker trio of Piotrowicz, Sloan and senior Robert Atkinson (Gainesville, Fla.), the Mids held the Quakers to just 51 yards on 35 carries.
"Our linebackers did great tonight, especially Matt" said Lake. "He is going to be missed. He's a leader on the field and a huge piece of our defense. Hopefully we'll be able find someone in the future to fill his shoes as a tenacious defender, who can make stops all over the field."
The Mids complete their 2013 season with a 6-1 record and just a 17-7 loss to Army as their only blemish.
"It's not the mark that we set out for, we would have loved to go 7-0 and win the league championship" said Lake. "We know what we need to do and where we need to improve. Overall, its a success for the team. We'll just have to come out and do a little bit better next year."
Tonight marked the final contest for 14 seniors. Over the past four years, the class of 2014 won 24 games and one CSFL championship in 2011.
"The seniors are a fantastic group of young men," said Lake. "You have guys who played injured, who didn't know if they'd have a role on the team or maybe even joined as seniors just to have an opportunity to be with the sprint brotherhood and they all fit in well. We gave people the opportunity to stand up and walk tall and our seniors did that."
"We know that the real fight starts now. These guys are just going to switch out the helmets and go on to a different kind of fight. I just hope that the lessons they learned here today they will be able to take with them throughout their careers."