Tag Archive: Football

  1. Double Team

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    In high school, many of us wore — willingly or unwillingly — at least one, or maybe two or three, different jerseys. Jock or not, many high schools required us to play one sport per year, if not one sport per season. Playing soccer in the fall, hockey in the winter and lacrosse in the spring, was not strange then, but, now, in college, the idea of joining the roster of three varsity teams seems almost impossible. Not counting students who are on both the Track and Field and Cross Country team, students that play on two varsity teams are pretty exceptional across collegiate sports, especially in the Ivy League.

    At Yale, where only about 20% of students play on an intercollegiate sports team, students that play on more than one team are an anomaly. This year, Charles Cook ’15 will become one of those rare individuals. When Cook signed as a football player for the Bulldogs in 2011, he had no idea that less than two years later, he would find a second home on Yale Field.

    A Texas native, Cook spent his high school years playing both football and baseball the Parish Episcopal School in Dallas. In high school, Cook was captain of both teams. A star safety on the football team, Cook led the Panthers to a state championship his senior year while hauling in a state-record of 16 interceptions. Cook was no less impressive on the baseball diamond. He mashed his way to a .416 batting average his junior year, all while splitting his time between shortstop and the outfield. Despite earning a spot on the all-district teams for both sports, Cook felt his football abilities would fare better in the college recruitment process.

    “At that point, I gave up summer baseball after my junior year of high school and decided to focus on football,” he said. “I did get calls and letters from multiple schools about baseball, some in the Ivy League, but football remained my focus.”

    After catching the attention of former football coach Tom Williamson, Cook quickly scaled the positional ranks once he got to Yale. Throughout the 2012 season, he was the Bulldogs’ starting safety, and his efforts produced a critical interception for Yale during The Game last fall. But even with his rising status in the Yale Bowl, Cook remained intent on picking up the baseball bat he had put aside two years before.

    “When the football staff at Yale recruited me and gave me an offer, I expressed an interest in trying to play baseball as well,” Cook explained. “I had always wanted to pursue the opportunity.”

    This spring, he did just that, earning a walk-on spot on the team and cementing his status as a two-sport athlete. Cook attributes the rarity of athletes on two varsity sports teams to the “rigorous” time commitment that sports impose on a student’s life. It’s certainly not easy. Just like all other student athletes, two-sport athletes have to balance a full schedule of schoolwork and a social life with the demands of playing on two teams at an elite level. One commitment like that is tough enough; doubling it is a formidable task, but one that Cook believes he’s up to.

    “Time management will definitely be very important for me to balance the demands of both sports as well as the classroom,” he said. “But I think it will be more rewarding than anything … I grew up playing both sports, loving both, and decided I didn’t want to give up either.”

    So far, Cook seems to be handling the transition into the dugout seamlessly. Ben Joseph ’15, a pitcher for the Bulldogs, spoke highly of the benefits Cook stands to offer the team as a two-sport athlete. Despite, or perhaps because of the differences separating football and baseball, Cook’s teammates believe he will bring a new approach to the game that could help them both on the field and off it.

    “Charles will definitely have a unique impact,” Joseph said. “He has already brought some of the no-nonsense, warrior mentality of football onto the baseball diamond.”

    Perhaps the unique demands of a two-sport athlete require flexibility in athletic ability as well as a flexible disposition. For Joseph, Cook’s presence on the team has been defined not only by his athletic talents, but also by his “easygoing” personality. “He gets along with everyone … All the guys on the team are glad to have him, and everyone is ready to see what he can do.”

    This season, the Bulldogs will look to Cook’s natural athleticism to help them rebound from a 2011-’12 campaign that saw them go 13-31-1. It remains to be seen where he will spend his playing time, but his teammates feel certain that wherever he is on the diamond, he will bring both skill and competitive fire. It does take a special kind of athlete to excel on such disparate fields, but no matter whom you ask, Cook is that kind of athlete. As he prepares for Yale baseball’s March 9 season opening three-game series against Army in Tampa, FL, Cook will take his first step toward fulfilling a longtime goal: fulfilling his love for both football, and baseball, in a college setting.

    “Ultimately, I decided to give baseball a shot because I don’t want to have any regrets fifty years from now,” Cook said. “I realize that in two years I will never have this opportunity again, so I am going to do everything I can to make the most of it.”


    David Whipple contributed reporting.

  2. Varga ’15 named honorable mention by sports network

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    Running back Tyler Varga ’15 was often a bright spot in a bleak season for the Bulldogs this year. And now, the Yale football player has added another honor to his trophy case today after being named honorable mention Football Championship Subdivision All-American by the Beyond Sports Network.

    Although he missed a few games — one while his eligibility was being reviewed after he transferred from the University of Western Ontario, and another while he handled a leg injury — the running back still managed to lead the Ivy League with 116.2 yards per game.

    Varga also led the FCS with 194.2 all-purpose yards per game and was fourth in the Ancient Eight with eight rushing touchdowns.

    In addition, he has filled many holes on the Bulldogs’ roster. When all three Eli quarterbacks were injured in the 27-13 victory over Penn in October, Varga filled in as quarterback, in addition to almost leading the Elis to a victory over Columbia the following week. Varga also returned kicks for Yale, averaging 23.6 yards per try.

    Varga has also been named to first team All-Ivy and in New England.

  3. FOOTBALL | Varga ’15 named first team All-Ivy League

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    Running back Tyler Varga ’15 has been awarded first-team all-Ivy League recognition, becoming the only Yalie this season to receive the honor.

    The youngest player on the Elis’ offense, Varga averaged 116.9 rushing yards per game and ended the season with 935 yards total for the Bulldogs. His performance on offense earned him his first team all-Ivy League and his performance as a kick returner earned him second team all-Ivy on special teams.

    Though he missed two Ivy League games, Varga still ended the season as the 13th ranked player in the Football Championship Subdivision for his average rushing yards.

    Varga is also a finalist for the Bushnell Cup, the award granted to the Ivy League’s best offensive and defensive player of the year.

    Right tackle Roy Collins ’13 was a second-team all-Ivy pick and left tackle Wes Gavin ’14, center John Oppenheimer ’14, running back Mordecai Cargill ’13 and corner back Colin Bibb ’13 were honorable mentions for the Ivy League.

    Varga was elected Most Valuable Player by his teammates Monday night.

  4. FOOTBALL | Bulldogs name new captain

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    The Yale football team chose defensive end Beau Palin ’14 to serve as the program’s captain in 2013, bringing to an end the team’s first season without a captain in its 140-year history.

    The selection was announced at the annual team banquet in Commons on Monday, just a few days after team members cast their votes in Cambridge, Mass., the night before The Game.

    “Beau Palin bleeds Yale Blue and has demonstrated exceptional leadership and motivation on and off the field,” Yale head coach Tony Reno said in an interview with Yale Athletics. “He always places the team and his teammates before himself. He is a tireless worker and is willing to raise the bar every day to achieve our goals. I am excited for Beau and for all of Yale Football.”

    Palin, the first Wisconsin native to be named captain of Yale’s football team, played on defense for the first time in his collegiate career this fall and started every game as a defensive end, before making his switch at the encouragement of Reno. Though defensive ends are usually the smallest players on the D-line, the 6-foot-3-inch, 247-pound ecology and evolutionary biology major made his presence known with five sacks, 25 solo tackles and 43 tackles overall. Palin was also selected to receive the 2012 team’s “hammer” award for hardest hits.

    Palin is the 136th elected Yale captain as well as the seventh straight defensive player to hold the position.

  5. FOOTBALL | Bulldogs fall to Harvard

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    Harvard was a 33-point favorite over the Elis coming into the 129th playing of The Game. In rivalries like these, however, Yale proved that predictions mean nothing.

    Yale (2–8, 1–6 Ivy) stuck with Harvard (8–2, 5–2) for 60 minutes but ultimately fell 34–24. The Cantabs extended their recent string of successes over the Bulldogs, winning for the sixth straight year.

    Yale battled the Crimson to a 3–3 tie at the halftime break. The defense started the day on a high note when linebacker Dylan Drake ’13 sacked Crimson quarterback Colton Chapple on the second play from scrimmage.

    Although Yale was forced to punt on its first ensuing drive, the Eli defensive front was again able to break through Harvard’s protection on the next drive. Linebacker Will McHale ’13 downed Chapple 11 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

    The Crimson managed just two first downs in the opening quarter, but a strong showing by its defense limited the Bulldogs to just three first downs. Quarterback Derek Russell ’13 was under center for the first time since playing against Penn a month ago.

    Yale struck first with 00:21 left in the first quarter. Kicker Philippe Panico ’13 gave Yale a 3–0 lead with a 29-yard field goal.

    Kicker David Mothander responded on Harvard’s next drive, splitting the uprights from 23 yards to knot the game up at three. Neither team was able to score for the rest of the half, thanks in part to penalties on Harvard’s offensive line. Three false starts were called on Harvard in the first two quarters. The Crimson racked up a total of seven penalties for 55 yards before the break.

    The third quarter saw the scoring pick up, starting with 37-yard field goal by Mothander to put Harvard up 6–3 with 8:53 remaining in the third. After the Cantabs forced a Yale punt, Chapple drove Harvard 63 yards on seven plays for the game’s first touchdown. Passing for 28 yards on the drive, Chapple took it himself with an 18-yard scoring run at the 4:51 mark in the third quarter.

    Although Russell completed all seven of his passes in the first half, Yale’s offense was unable to stretch the field. That changed when Reno put Henry Furman ’14 back at quarterback. Furman immediately showed off his arm, finding a diving wide receiver Cam Sandquist ’14 over the middle for 46 yards on his first drive.

    Running back Tyler Varga ’15 then took over as Yale’s signal caller and found the end zone two plays later when he froze Harvard’s defense with a pump fake, then ran in to cut the lead to 13–10.

    A three-and-out by Harvard left Yale with the ball on its own 29-yard line. The Elis then opened up the final quarter of play with a 12-yard touchdown strike from Furman to wide receiver Grant Wallace ’15. Furman was flushed from the pocket, but he threw on the run and Wallace came to meet the ball for the score and a 17–13 Yale lead.

    Harvard took the lead right back in just 1:35 when Chapple finished a 5-play, 64-yard drive with a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Andrew Berg.

    Yale was unable to get a first down and punted, but nose guard Nick Daffin ’13 intercepted Chapple on Harvard’s 33. Yale battled its way down the field to set up third and goal on Harvard’s 2-yard line, then Varga rushed up the gut for a touchdown. Yale took a 24–20 lead with 7:07 to go, but the Cantabs were not done.

    Chapple broke free on a 61-yard dash, but defensive back Collin Bibb ’13 tripped him up at the Yale 9 to prevent a touchdown. Yale appeared to have kept Harvard out of the end zone when linebacker Ryan Falbo ’13 knocked down a pass on fourth and eight, but he was flagged for defensive holding and Harvard was awarded a new first down at Yale’s 4.

    The Elis paid for the penalty two plays later when Chapple hit tight end Cameron Brate in the back of the end zone to put Harvard up 27–24 at the 4:44 mark.

    After Furman’s pass was tipped on second down, Sandquist was dragged down for no gain on third down and the Elis punted on fourth and four from deep within their own territory.

    Harvard’s drive started off with false start to back the Crimson up, but running back Treavor Scales was able to pick up two first downs, the second going for 63 yards and a touchdown. Scales’ run iced the game by putting up 34–24 with just 1:08 left.

    Yale’s attempt at a comeback ended when the ball landed in Crimson defensive back Reynaldo Kirton’s hands for an interception.

    Varga led the Elis with 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns and Furman went 13–20 passing for 158 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

    The Elis lead the overall series 65–56–8.

  6. FOOTBALL | Princeton overtakes Yale 29-7

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    With wide receiver Henry Furman ’14 playing quarterback and running back Tyler Varga ’15 standing on the sidelines, many questioned if
    Yale could run the ball. But that is exactly what the Elis did, gaining 348 yards of total offense. That would not be enough, as Yale (2-7, 1-5 Ivy) fell 29-7 to Princeton (5-4, 4-2 Ivy) at the Yale Bowl this afternoon.

    Yale’s first drive of the game saw two completions by Furman and 16 rushing yards from running back Mordecai Cargill ’13 before the Elis were forced to punt. Princeton’s offense was stalled by the Eli defense and punted to Yale’s 37-yard line without moving the chains.

    Furman then led the Bulldogs 63 yards down the field, finishing with a 14-yard bullet up the middle to wide receiver Grant Wallace. Yale took a 7-0 lead with 6:27 left in the first quarter – Yale’s first points since Varga scored in the fourth quarter against Columbia two weeks ago.

    For the second straight series Yale was able to hold Princeton without a first down. Linebacker Dylan Drake ’13 and nose guard Nick Daffin ’13 both had tackles behind the line of scrimmage on the drive.

    The Elis yet again drove into Princeton territory, but running back Kahlil Keys ’15 was dropped in the backfield on third down by linebacker Tim Kingsbury.

    Princeton finally drove the ball on its next drive, but quarterback Quinn Epperly’s apparent touchdown pass was called back due to offensive pass interference.

    Epperly’s next throw was then intercepted by defensive back Collin Bibb ’13 in the end zone.

    Yale could do nothing with the new possession, however, and Princeton finally found the end zone on its ensuing drive. Wide receiver Roman Wilson punched the ball across the goal line with 10:27 to go in the second quarter.

    Linebacker Wes Moyer’s ’13 28-yard kick-off return set Yale up at its own 46-yard line and two plays later Furman dashed for 18 yards to Princeton’s 32. The Elis’ fortunes turned suddenly when Cargill fumbled.

    Three plays later the Bulldogs would get the ball back when Bibb jumped a corner route and intercepted quarterback Connor Michelsen on Princeton’s 39-yard line.

    On third down and 12 yards from the Princeton 29, Furman found wide receiver Austin Reuland ’16 22 yards down the sideline for first and goal at the 7.

    Poised on the Tigers’ goal line, the Elis went to a trick play on second down when Cargill tried to throw to Furman.

    Calamity struck when Cargill’s pass fell short and into the hands of cornerback Trocon Davis. He then ran untouched 100 yards to give Princeton a 14-7 lead with just 1:01 remaining in the second quarter.

    Princeton added to its lead on the first drive after the break when Epperly dove into the end zone from 1-yard out just three minutes into the second half. The Tigers upped the score to 22-7 when the snap on the extra point was fumbled, but kicker Nolan Bieck picked it up and fell across the goal line for the two-point conversion.

    Both sides traded punts before wide receiver Cameron Sandquist’s 21-yard return started the Elis on Princeton’s 34-yard line.

    Yale’s drive ended when Cargill was falling to the ground just outside the Princeton goal line. Just before he hit the ground, the ball popped out of Cargill’s hands into the end zone, where it was recovered by the Tigers.

    Powered by linebacker E.J. Conway’s ’15 6-yard sack of Michelsen, Yale’s defense forced a three-and-out by the Tigers after Cargill’s fumble. The fumble was Cargill’s third turnover of the game and sixth fumble of the season.

    Unable to move the ball on the next possession, Yale head coach Tony Reno called for a fake punt on fourth and five from the Princeton 38. Moyer’s pass fell incomplete, though, and the Elis turned the ball over on downs.

    The final quarter began with the Bulldogs and Elis again trading punts, then the Tigers began to drive once again.

    Starting on their own 31-yard line, the Tigers took six minutes to march down the field for first-and-goal on Yale’s 6. The Elis held Princeton on the first two plays, but on third down Epperly threw a fade to the back right corner for wide receiver

    Matt Costello. The wideout leapt into the air and kept his feet in bounds to give the Tigers a 29-7 with 4:23 left in the game.

    The Elis just barely missed a touchdown yet again on the next drive. Faced with fourth and 12 from the Princeton’s 31-yard line, Furman threw deep down the left sideline for Wallace, but the referees called Wallace out of bounds in the end zone. The Tigers were then able to run the clock out on just their third win over Yale in the last 11 years.

    Furman finished the day 18-28 for 184 passing yards and a touchdown in addition to 28 rushing yards. Cargill paced Yale’s running attack with 101 yards on the ground. Sandquist led all receivers with nine catches for 103 yards.

  7. Yale-Harvard game tickets to go on sale Monday

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    Tickets for the 129th Yale-Harvard game will go on sale 9 a.m. Monday morning, and will be distributed by the Yale Ticket Office near the Payne Whitney Gymnasium.

    They cost $20 per student and $35 for guests.

    According to the Harvard athletic website, there are still a limited number of tickets available from Harvard, with prices ranging from $35 for endzone seating to $60 for premium seating. Parking tickets are already sold out, according to the website.

    Kickoff will be at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday on Nov. 17 at Harvard Stadium.

  8. LIVE BLOG | FOOTBALL | Yale v. Brown

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  9. Bulldogs fall 26-22 to Columbia Lions

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    Playing without a true quarterback, the Bulldogs (2-5, 1-3 Ivy) were unable to come out of the Big Apple with a win Saturday afternoon, blowing a fourth quarter lead to fall 26-22 to Columbia (2-5, 1-3 Ivy).

    Last week the Bulldogs had to deal with the loss of starting quarterback Eric Williams ’16. This week, the Elis were without any of their three quarterbacks.

    Running back Tyler Varga ’15 took the majority of Yale’s snaps, but he was occasionally spelled by WR Henry Furman ’14. Furman had not played quarterback since high school, where he was a three-year starter and 2009 first-team all-leaguer for Lincoln High in Portland, Ore.

    Columbia drove down the field on the first drive of the game, but the Yale defense held firm on its own 11-yard line to force a Columbia field goal.

    After the two teams traded punts, the Elis were finally able to drive the football.

    Running the option and a normal running game out of their traditional formations, Varga led the Elis on a 7-play, 94-yard drive that he capped off with a 28-yard scoring run.

    Yale’s defense forced a punt on the Lions’ next possession, but punter Paul Delaney pinned the Elis deep on their own 9-yard line. On the next play, Varga could not handle the snap and was brought down for a safety after recovering in the end zone.

    With the Yale lead cut to just two midway through the second quarter, the Bulldogs responded by forcing the Lions to punt yet again.

    Running back Mordecai Cargill ’13 gave the ball right back to Columbia when he fumbled on the second play of Yale’s ensuing drive. Columbia appeared destined to take advantage of the Yale turnover when running back Marcorus Garrett rushed for 6 yards to set Columbia up with first and goal on the Yale 1-yard line.

    Four plays later, however, and the Elis had the ball back after a goal line stand.

    Reno then called Furman’s number to lead Yale in the two-minute drill. His first two collegiate passes were completions, the second to wide receiver Austin Reuland ’16 for a first down. Furman’s next to passes fell incomplete, however, and Yale punted the ball back to Penn with less than a minute remaining.

    Defensive back Kurt Stottlemyer ’13 crushed Columbia’s hopes of a halftime lead by intercepting quarterback Sean Brackett on the final play of the first half.

    Yale had the ball to start the second half, but not for long. Cargill fumbled the ball on Yale’s first play from scrimmage after the break. The giveaway was Cargill’s second of the game and fourth this season.

    The Lions were again unable to capitalize on Yale’s mistake as the Elis stopped Columbia on a fourth down try on the Yale 26.

    Twelve plays and 74 yards later, Varga extended Yale’s lead when Columbia’s defense bit on the fake hand-off, allowing the running back-turned-quarterback to slip across the goal line from 4 yards out.

    Columbia responded with a 75-yard drive of their own, which ended when wide receive Jake Wanamaker hauled in Brackett’s 4-yard lob to the back right corner of the end zone.

    After forcing Yale to punt, the Lions took the lead with 11:38 to go in the final quarter when Brackett took it in for the score himself from 1 yard out.

    The lead changed again on Yale’s next drive. The offensive line pushed right and Varga appeared to follow them, only to turn on a dime and cut back left and run 28 yards before diving just inside the pylon. Reno opted to go for two and Cargill converted by powering his way up the middle into the end zone.

    The Elis led 22-19 with 7:30 left in regulation and appeared to be on their way to running out the clock after Columbia’s 41-yard field goal try went wide to the left.

    With just 2:05 remaining, Varga rushed for a first down at the Columbia 41, but fumbled the football as he was falling to the ground. Reno and the Bulldogs argued that the play was dead because Varga was down by contact, but the call stood in favor of the Lions.

    Brackett orchestrated an eight-play, 59-yard drive that returned the lead to Columbia with a 2-yard pass to Garrett.

    With just 45 seconds to go, Furman again went under center for the Bulldogs. Although he was able to pick up a first down at the Yale 42 with a 17-yard strike to wide receiver Cameron Sandquist ’14, time ran out on Yale’s hopes of a comeback.

    Varga led the Elis with 220 rushing yards and three touchdowns. His total set the record for most yards on the ground by a Yale quarterback Nick Crawford ’92 with 204 yards against Penn in 1991.

    Yale will hit the road again next Saturday when the Bulldogs travel to Providence, R.I. to face Brown.