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.

Three Up, Three Down: Brown Edition

Last week’s predictions were hit or miss — Billy Ragone struggled more than I expected against Yale’s bottom-ranked scoring defense among Ivies. But I did call the Bulldogs’ gashing of Penn’s defensive front.  Ultimately, though, I would never have guessed that the egg that the Quakers laid at the Yale Bowl would be as big as it was.  So who’s up and who’s down against Brown? 

Three Up —

Tight ends:  In Joe Holder's absence and with Cameron Countryman not a safe bet just yet, tight ends Ryan Allen and Mitch King have been stepping up when needed as secondary targets for Ragone and Holland. King's 32-yard reception in the second quarter from Penn's own 10-yard line jumpstarted an 8-play, 89-yard drive that gave the Quakers their only touchdown of the game last week, and both TEs combined for three catches for 41 yards against Columbia. Brown will undoubtedly match two-time first-team All-Ivy cornerback A.J. Cruz up with Conner Scott, and that should make for quite a battle. Look for Penn's QBs to continue to look to King and Allen to exploit the rest of Brown's average secondary.

Dan Davis:  Davis led all Quakers at Yale with 10 tackles and showed flashes of impressive pursuit in both run and pass blitz situations. Still, his grasp of Penn's complex defensive schemes isn't quite where it needs to be per linebackers coach Dan Wood in this week's Penn Football Weekly.  Davis embodies the rest of the defense in that he has great athleticism, potential, and versatility (playing 11 different positions in high school), but he still isn't experienced enough to be great. Nevertheless, look for him to be a ballhawk Saturday.

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Three Up, Three Down: Yale Edition

I couldn’t have done any better with last week's predictions if I had a crystal ball. Scott Lopano was very “up,” earning Ivy Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Ryan Mitchell was also “up,” leading the Quakers in receiving. And Penn’s pass protection was indeed “down” all afternoon long. So who’s up and down this week?

Three Up —

Billy Ragone: Because he’s gotten better every game so far this season. Granted, he started out at the lowest of lows at Lafayette, but he hasn’t thrown a pick since then and is increasingly incorporating lesser-targeted receivers such as Mitch King and Ryan Allen into the passing game as teams start to blanket Conner Scott. Fourth-quarter comebacks do wonders for a quarterback’s confidence regardless of what happened in the previous three quarters. Ragone is a quarterback with momentum going up against the Ivy League’s worst scoring defense.

Conner Scott: Speaking of Scott, it doesn’t matter whether Yale decides to double him or not. They won’t be able to stifle him as much as Columbia did last week when the Lions held him to just 17 yards receiving on two catches. Ragone isn’t going to be going up against a defensive front as underrated and stout as Columbia’s was, so he should have more time to find Scott downfield. Scott has already established himself as the kind of player who just doesn’t have two quiet games in a row.

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Mano-A-Mano: Is the Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

In this week’s Mano-A-Mano, football writer John Phillips and Associate Sports Editor Mike Tony debate the state of the Quakers’ offense.

John Phillips: It’s one thing to have an off week, where a team comes out flat in the first half. But as Billy Ragone said after the game on Saturday, the team hasn’t put together a full game, two solid halves, yet.

A comeback is great, but really, they were two yards away from losing a game on Saturday that — if this team hopes to compete with Harvard and Cornell — they should have dominated. Slow starts are less of a worry than an inability to play a cohesive, clean 60 minutes, which is what this team has shown.

Mike Tony: It’s true that Penn’s offense has yet to play a complete game, but I’ll take at least one guaranteed interval of dominance when it counts against a solid (not to mention scholarship) William & Mary defense and a Columbia ‘D’ that came in ranked No. 7 in the FCS in sacks per game.

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FB Recruiting Profile: Mitchell King from Deep River, CT

Recruit: Mitchell King from Deep River, CT
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 231 pounds
High School: Valley Regional, Deep River Center, CT
Position at Penn: TE

Recruited By: Duke, Penn, Columbia, Temple, Tulane

The Recruiting Moment: At breakfast during the recruiting trip, King and some other recruits were talking casually with offensive coordinators and it was all the things that he wanted to hear.

The Skinny: With 78 tackles and eight sacks on defense, Penn would have a good recruit on defense. On offense Penn has something better. A rivals two-star and 1st team All-State tight end, King is a receiving-first tight end who “likes to get out and spread things out.” He will need to improve his blocking, but getting stronger will help him out.

The Quote: “I want to establish myself as player who's going to work hard and be respected [by the team] for that.”