AJ Cutrufello and David Mendelsohn
Starting the season off with a pair of victories, the Ursinus College football team is ready to stay hot for the homecoming matchup against Juniata College on Sept. 16.
In their Week 1 matchup at Patterson Field against Bethany College (WV), the Bears decisively emerged victorious with a final score of 35-13.
Sophomore Quarterback Tom Garlick threw for three touchdowns in the game: almost halfway to eclipsing the eight he threw as a first-year player last season. When asked about these impressive statistics, Garlick spoke on the numbers he has put up and his attitude towards every game.
Said Garlick, “I try not to focus on stats too much, but just whatever I can do to win the game. If I throw for no touchdowns and not a lot of passing yards and we still win, I’ll be just as happy as if I threw for five touchdowns and 300 yards.”
The first of these three touchdowns was an impressive ten yard pass through the middle for junior Tight End Thomas Cardozo, opening the scoring in the first quarter. The second quarter saw two more impressive touchdown passes for Garlick, a three-yard dimer as well as a booming fifty-seven yard catch and run touchdown, both to senior Wide Receiver Carmen Fortino.
When asked about the pressures of being an underclassman starting quarterback, Garlick expressed zero apprehension: “I don’t feel any pressure because of being an underclassmen, especially not from the guys on the team. They all did a great job of taking me in last year and making me feel a part of the team no matter what grade I’m in. I think last year really helped with my confidence level and gave me the experience I needed to play at a high level this season.”
Garlick was not the only player on offense that impressed. Sophomore Running Back Stacey Gardner had a striking performance of his own, rushing for a career-high 197 yards with a touchdown on twenty-six attempts while also grabbing a pair of receptions for eighteen yards.
On his performance, Gardner was elated. Said Gardner, “It’s unbelievable, I never would’ve thought to have a game like that in my entire life. It’s something I’ll remember for a long time.”
However, the sophomore takes no credit for himself.
“All of my coaches and teammates deserve credit for my performance. My coaches allowed me the opportunity to play and succeed while my teammates encourage and give extra effort to help not only myself but the entire team to play well and win,” said Gardner.
In order to have performances like this more often, Gardner knows he must always stay focused and prepared. “To keep up with the competition I have to keep the same mentality week in and week out to compete at a high level.”
Sophomore Linebacker Jacob McCain and senior Defensive Lineman Demarcus Henry led the Bears’ defensive attack with eleven and eight total tackles, respectively. Ursinus was also helped by three total sacks by senior Cody Richmond, junior Alexander Bratsis and sophomore Nick Vandevere. Senior Defensive Back Jamie Cassius played a big part in the game as well, with two pass breakups of his own.
Ursinus was ultimately able to steadily handle the Bison of Bethany College by a final score of 35-13. The Bears totaled at 241 passing yards and 269 total rushing yards on the day.
The Bears had an equally impressive victory at Gettysburg College during week two, a victory that was completed by a last-minute touchdown pass by junior Jake Clifford. The Bears finished off with a 35-28 win and a 2-0 start to the season.
With this impressive start, Ursinus will look to carry their momentum into the highly-touted homecoming matchup on Saturday against Juniata College on Patterson Field at 1:00 pm.