2013 Penn football banquet recap

On Friday, Penn football held its annual postseason banquet to celebrate the team’s 2012 Ivy League championship, honor the seniors, and hand out the individual awards to the outstanding performers from 2012. Here is a rundown of who took home the accolades from Friday night:

Edgar Church Memorial Award (Biggest Overall Contributor)
The team’s letterwinners voted for senior quarterback Billy Ragone to receive the Edgar Church Memorial Award. Ragone started nine games for the 2012 Ivy League champions. The honorable mention All-Ivy quarterback ranked sixth in the Ivy League in total offense, seventh in passing yards and ninth in rushing. He finished the season 118-of-210 passing for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns, while also rushing for 476 yards and four touchdowns to lead the team with 1,764 yards of total offense.

Chuck Bednarik Award (Most outstanding offensive and defensive linemen)
Senior offensive lineman Joe Bonadies and senior defensive tackle Taylor Brown took home the Chuck Bednarik Award for their fantastic work in the trenches this season. Bonadies was a first-team All-Ivy and Academic All-Ivy selection, as he started all 10 games at right tackle for the second consecutive season. Brown started all 10 games on the defensive side for the second straight year, recording three sacks along with eight tackles for loss.

George Munger Award (Offensive and Defensive Most Valuable Players)
Named after Penn's Hall of Fame coach, the George Munger Award was given to senior running back Lyle Marsh and senior captain Brandon Copeland. Marsh was a second-team All-Ivy selection as he led Penn and finished eighth in the Ivy League in rushing with 515 yards, finding the endzone six times. He also led Penn with 791 all-purpose yards, while his 5.4 yards per carry ranked fifth all-time at Penn in a single season. Copeland was Penn's first solo captain in 15 years and was named first-team All-Ivy. The defensive lineman led Penn and finished seventh in the Ivy League with five sacks and was second on the team with 8.5 tackles for loss.

Reds Bagnell Award (Unsung Heroes)
Senior tight end Ryan Allen and senior linebacker Steve Lias were handed the Reds Bagnell Award, named after Hall of Fame running back Francis (Reds) Bagnell. Allen played in all 10 games and finished the season with nine catches for 107 yards and 11.9 yards per catch. Lias started all 10 games for the Quakers, finishing with 43 tackles on the year in addition to three tackles for loss and two sacks.

George A. Weiss Award (Demonstrating “Pennsylvania kind of football”)
Junior offensive lineman Chris Bush
was honored to receive the George A. Weiss Award, given to the player who best displays the toughness and determination that represents the "Pennsylvania kind of football." Bush was a second-team All-Ivy selection and Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area honoree. He started nine games at center for the Ivy League champions and played through injury during most of Penn's season-ending four-game winning streak.

Football Club Award (Distinct Athletic Achievement)
The Football Club Award was given to junior wide receiver Conner Scott on offense, senior cornerback Dave Twamley on defense, and senior punter Scott Lopano on special teams. Sophomore tight end Mitchell King and sophomore linebacker Dan Davis also received the award as offensive and defensive rookies. Scott had 52 receptions for 691 yards and five touchdowns in 2012. Twamley earned second-team All-Ivy and Academic All-Area honors as he led the team with 43 solo tackles. Lopano set Penn's career records for punts (184) and punt yards (7,111), while King played in all 10 games and finished with six catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns.

 Coach Lake Award (Leadership, Team Spirit, and Penn Pride)
Awarded for the first time in 2010, the Lake Award is presented in honor of Coach Dan "Lake" Staffieri, a team motivator for 33 seasons. Senior running back Jeff Jack was the recipient of the award for the 2012 season. Jack played in all 10 games, starting the last seven for the Red and Blue. He ran for 413 yards and had four rushing touchdowns on the season.

Man of the Year Award
Along with the awards given to the athletes, Hench Murray, C'66, GEd'67, was named the Man of the Year for his continued dedication to and support of Penn's football program. Murray played baseball while attending Penn, and has served as the color analyst for the football team for 33 seasons.

Sad news

I unfortunately have to interrupt all of the good discussion about marketing, the line, recruits etc., to bring some sad news.

At today's local football coaches luncheon, Jonathan Tannenwald was told that Dan "Coach Lake" Staffieri is in bad health and there's a chance he will not return to the sidelines at all this year.

Staffieri's official title is "game-day coordinator" which boils down to the emotional leader of the team. During every game he wears the 12 Ivy championship rings he's won in his 32 years at Penn as he leads the student section in cheers such as "Ivy what?", "Champs!" and "How you doing? Oh very well!"

The Villanova game this past Saturday felt weird without him. It's a real shame he wasn't there, since the jam-packed student section would've gone crazy with him leading the chants. (On that note, I'd like to apologize for joking that he didn't attend since it was past his bedtime. Obviously if I had known the real reason I wouldn't have made that comment.)

From all of us here at the DP, let's hope this Penn legend recovers.

How you doing? Oh very well

One of the quirkier Penn Athletics personalities--if not the quirkiest--is football game day coordinator Dan "Lake" Staffieri. Or for those of you that don't recognize the name, the guy in the funny hat and pants that drives around campus in the helmet car on Fridays before home games screaming "Let's Go Penn!" He also always has a word taped to his forehead that's a key to the game.

Well Coach Lake, as everyone knows him by, will be honored this Friday.  But not by the football team.  Instead, the United States Marine Corps will honor him at the USMC Scholarship Foundation Philadelphia Ball  with the Sportsman’s Award.

Staffieri served in the Marines before coming to Penn, and will be honored by the Corps "for his unselfish generosity to the USMC Scholarship Foundation."

Since joining the staff at Penn in 1977, Coach Lake has seen 12 of Penn's 13 Ivy League football titles.  (In case you want proof, just look at the rings that he always wears on gamedays.)

But by far my favorite Coach Lake fact is that he was a player on Maryland's sole National Championship team (the 1953 version of the Terrapins).