If you're a football fan that loves to watch defensive battles, offensive shootouts, or rivalries that are decades old, then week two of the CSFL season had something for you. Rivalry games kicked off our weekend as the service academies battled in the annual Star Game while Penn and Cornell fought it out in an Ivy League battle. A controversial game between Franklin Pierce and Post overshadowed two offensive showcases in the league's final two games.
Penn vs Cornell
Cross-division rivals, the league's only Ivy schools put on a defensive show as Penn takes down Cornell 16-7. Cornell allowed 300 yards of offense; however the theme of the night for the Big Red defense was bend don't break, as they held an offense that had previously put up 54 points to just 16. Seven of those points came when they had to defend from their own four yard line following a blocked punt. The stars of the Cornell defense were linebackers Harry Green and Alfonso Nazzaro. Green posted 8 tackles, one sack for a whopping nineteen-yard loss, and two tackles for loss. Nazzaro showed out again for the second straight week as he added 13 tackles to his season total.
When star quarterback Eddie Jenkins went down with a lower body injury in the first quarter, it was the Penn defense along with running back Jake Klaus that stepped up to support backup quarterback Connor Reed. The defense allowed just 100 total yards of offense, 38 of which came on a 38-yard touchdown run by Connor Ostrander. The quakers came out of the locker room for second half with a host of blitzes, contributing to a game total of two sacks and two interceptions, along with an unrecorded, but significant amount of pressures. Jake Klaus dominated the night. The power back carried the ball 34 times for 165 yards and two bruising touchdowns. Coupled with Bren McCaffrey's near hundred-yard performance, the Penn offense did just enough to deny Cornell the upset.
Army vs Navy
Second only to a possible championship, this was the biggest game of the year for these two schools. Behind the arm of quarterback Keegan West, Army mounted a fourth quarter comeback to spurn Navy's dreams of an undefeated season. With 17-14 being the final, two teams that posted over 40 points in week one struggled to cut through each of the league's best defenses.
Keegan West's two touchdowns and 272 total yards were made possible by the offensive line's dominant pass protection. Failing to take West down in the backfield even once, Navy's defensive line couldn't match the four combined sacks of Army's Nevonte Dean and Zach Lechthaler. An added nine tackles for loss spoke to the overall dominance in the trenches by West Point.
Navy's Dean Rye shined at the linebacker position, collecting 17 total tackles to compliment teammate Mason Hooten's 14. Both academies rushed for under 100 yards, making room for two phenomenal receiving performances by J.T. Thopmson (Navy) and Tom Williamson (Army). Thompson's 113 yards were gained mostly on a 81-yard touchdown from Walt Fagan. Williamson didn't eclipse the 100-yard mark, but more than made up for it with six receptions, two of which were Army's only touchdowns. A game to remember, the league's most storied programs hope that this will be a preview of a possible championship matchup.
St Thomas Aquinas vs Caldwell
After running up a 21-0 lead through the first half, the St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans looked to be on a clear path to victory. Quarterback Luke Sullivan had 3 touchdown passes in the first half and 5 overall for the game, in addition to throwing for 321 yards and an interception. Despite the large deficit, however, the Caldwell Cougars did their best in the second half to cut the Spartan’s lead and give the fans a great game.
By the middle of the third quarter, Cougars quarterback Tajae' Irby had a one-yard touchdown run and an 18-yard pass to cut the lead to one score, but Sullivan reopened the lead with his fourth passing touchdown right near the third quarter’s close.
The Spartans’ defense effectively shut off the Cougar’s running game, who averaged just 1.5 yards per attempt on 35 rushing attempts. Because of this, Tajae’ Irby carried the weight of the offense for much of the game, but was only 4 for 15 on third down conversions.
The fourth quarter didn’t show much change in game flow. Each team added a late touchdown, but by then the Spartans’ lead was solidified. The game ended 35-21 in favor of St. Thomas Aquinas College. Seven different players on the Spartans caught a pass and four different players caught at least one receiving touchdown, including James Hanigan, who caught three passes for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns.
St. Thomas Aquinas will try to continue their undefeated start by facing off at Army, also undefeated, on September 29th at 1pm. Caldwell will conversely look for their first win against 0-2 Post College, playing on September 29th at noon.
Mansfield vs Chestnut Hill
In an absolute shootout, Chestnut Hill defeated the Mansfield Mounties 59 to 44 on Friday night. The two teams combined for over 1,000 yards and over 100 points in what will easily be one of the most offensively dominant games of the season. The fact that Chestnut Hill led 52-14 at the end of the third quarter is perhaps the craziest storyline of the game as well, including scoring 45 unanswered points in a row.
In a 30-point fourth quarter comeback effort, Mansfield quarterbacks Adam Hutchinson and Gary Rauper II, along with running back Jay Walker helped lead the massive quarter that ultimately fell short. Hutchinson went 15-26 with 216 yards and 2 passing TDs. Raupers II was 5-13 with 127 yards, 2 passing TDs, and 1 interception. Raupers also had three successful 2-point conversions in the fourth quarter.
Chestnut Hill set the tone for the entire game early, despite their “quiet” 7-point fourth quarter. Their 553 yards is a significant increase from their previous game against Army (a 45-7 loss), but they made up the most ground minimizing mistakes (0 interceptions this game vs. 3 against Army) and executing in the red zone (going 5-5 in the red zone vs. 1-4 against Army). Chestnut Hill’s quarterbacks Michael Marino and David Navas went a combined 14-23 with 343 yards and 5 passing touchdowns. Reggie Robinson, Jr. led the CHC Griffins with 6 receptions for 2 touchdowns and 141 receiving yards.
Mansfield will look for their first win after starting 0-2 this Friday at Navy. CHC plays next against undefeated UPenn on Friday night as well.