Rob SgarlataOver a year ago, Bruce Simmons approached our staff with a vision for the 50th Anniversary of Modern-Day Football. In typical Bruce fashion, he worked tirelessly to make his vision a reality. With the constant support of his planning committee and the entire staff of The Annual Fund for Georgetown Athletics and Hoyas Unlimited, Bruce organized one of the best football weekends in the program’s storied history. Dick Williams did a great job as the master of ceremonies. A special thank you goes out to Pat McArdle.  Pat is the person behind the scenes who always ensures these weekends can be transformed from visions to reality. For everyone’s tireless work, I am truly grateful.

On Friday night, we had our pre-game run through on our home field. We had over 100 football alumni on the field to watch practice. Following practice, our players spent time with the alums in the end zone. It was awesome to see players from the classes of 1964 to 2014 interact together. Following practice, there was an alumni reception under a tent by the Jesuit Residence. Our offensive coordinator, Mike Neuberger and our defensive coordinator, Luke Thompson both addressed the alums and gave a preview of the Brown game.

Saturday was a perfect day for a football game on the Hilltop. Football on a college campus in the fall is a truly special event.  The weather was perfect and we played Brown University.  Brown is a very strong program and we knew we would be in for a challenge. Our day started with the Hoya Walk and ended singing the fight song. I could not have scripted it any better!

For the second week in a row, our defense was outstanding. Coach Thompson’s group has not allowed a touchdown in the last eight quarters of football. The score in the Marist game came as a result of a punt return for a touchdown (a unit which I personally coach)! It was truly a team effort on defense with a number of contributors.  We limited Brown to just 88 yards on the ground.  When Brown tried to go to the passing game, our defensive front constantly harassed Brown’s quarterbacks and finished the day with five sacks. We were able to force four turnovers. Ettian Scott had two interceptions and Ty Williams forced a fumble at our one yard line to prevent a score that was recovered by Jordan Richardson. Wardell Crutchfield also stripped and recovered a ball to stop another promising Brown drive.

While it was a great team effort on defense, a few players should be singled out.  Alec May had another outstanding afternoon.  Alec finished the day with nine tackles, four sacks and four tackles for a loss. Ettian Scott had another outstanding day in the secondary and finished with two interceptions. I told the team on Sunday, I was pleased to see so many different players contributing to the effort. It was great to see Wardell Crutchfield, John Egan, Hunter Kiselick and Gibson Vaught play well.

On the offensive side of the ball, the running game was the story. Jo’el Kimpela and Danny Wright had outstanding days. Joel rushed for 104 yards and Danny had 91, including a great 57 yard run for a touchdown to give us a 7-3 lead in the first half.  Coach Miller’s offensive line did a tremendous job. The offensive line’s names never appear in the stat sheet so I want to make sure they see their name in print for this awesome performance. Captains Nick Quintans, Mike Roland with Mike Kasten, Kevin Liddy, Gerverus Flagg and Chappy Wingo played physical from snap to whistle. Up 14-3 going into the 4th quarter, we put the game on the offensive line’s back. We told them we wanted to control the clock and win the game. They responded and we had the ball for 12 of the 15 minutes in the final quarter.

In addition to keying the run game, the offensive line did a good job of protecting Kyle Nolan from an aggressive Brown defense. Kyle managed the offense well and did a great job of handling Brown’s multiple looks. He finished the day with 177 yards while throwing to eight different receivers on the day. Jake DeCicco caught a 25 yard touchdown pass for our second score along with four other passes on the day. Similar to the defense, it was great to see Harry Glor and Tommy Jesson make significant contributions.

With Saturday being our fourth game and Brown’s first, I emphasized to the players that we needed to win the kicking game.  We had more live reps and I felt we would need this phase to play well to win the game. Freshman Dan Yankovich had a great day on our coverage units. Harry McCollum had another solid day punting. He averaged 49 yards per kick and placed 2 inside the 20 yard line. Even with these numbers, it was his running ability that was the most important. With the score 14-3 with about six minutes left in the game we called a fake punt. Harry ran for the first down and set up Henry Darmstadter for a 44-yard field goal to seal the victory. A highlight of the game can be found here.

It was a weekend of firsts.  It is the first time the Hoyas have defeated an Ivy League opponent on the Hilltop. It was also the first time the Hoyas have defeated Brown University. It was appropriate that we had the first Hoya Football team in modern-day history, the Class of 1964, on campus to witness these firsts.

Following the game, we had the gala to celebrate the return of football to the Hilltop. Unfortunately I cannot list all of the attendees in this letter. I would like to thank former athletic directors Frank Rienzo and Joe Lang for attending. We honored the 1964 team. A representative from each era provided a reflection. Special thanks to Tony Lauinger, Dr. James Chesley, Andy Phelan, Janne Kouri, and Michael Ononibaku for their speeches. Peter Cooper provided a reflection from the parent’s perspective as the father of five Georgetown graduates. Rory Quirk was appropriately awarded the Rory Quirk Outstanding Service to Georgetown Football Award for his tireless work to ensure the return of football to the Hilltop in 1964. I was also honored to have General George Casey in attendance. General Casey was awarded the Letterman of Distinction Award for his stellar career, which culminated with his serving as Chief of Staff of the Army. Both General Casey and Mr. Quirk’s speeches were moving. They both emphasized the impact the Hoya Football family has had on their respective lives.  All of these men are great examples of 4 for 40, SISU, and Men for Others.

We enjoyed this win Saturday night and Sunday morning. We have moved on to the “next play” and are in preparations to travel to Hamilton, New York to open the league play against a very good Colgate team. I continue to emphasize to our players that there is an incredible Georgetown Football family of people who are genuinely interested in their success and the success of this program. We have come a long way in 50 years and I look forward to seeing where are can go in the next 50.

Rob Sgarlata

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