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Special Week of Yale Football

Special Week of Yale Football

Big Plays at Blue-White Game

Photos by Jack Warhola

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A great week for Yale football culminated with today's Blue-White scrimmage on the Class of 1954 Field in front of a big crowd on a sun splashed afternoon at Yale Bowl.

The festivities began last Wednesday night at the Yale Club in Manhattan with a senior dinner that featured over 100 former players and other alumni and friends of Yale football.  Tony Reno, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Yale Football, introduced the seniors to the capacity crowd.

Former New York Governor George Pataki '67 delivered the keynote address in which he thanked the seniors for their commitment to Yale football and congratulated them on their many successes as student athletes representing Yale. Association president Pat Ruwe '83 and athletics director Tom Beckett presented the senior service leadership award to DB Drew Baldwin '12. The event ended with former tight end Greg Hall '77 leading the audience in an emotional rendition of "Bulldog." This was the second such annual dinner to honor Yale's seniors and officially welcome them into the Yale Football Association.

"The dinner was a great night of fellowship and fraternity of the Yale football family," said Evan Ellis '12, an offensive lineman.  "The dinner had a great program but it was apparent that the alumni wanted to welcome the seniors into the family." 

Friday night U.S. Army four-star general Stanley McChrystal addressed the team on campus, hours before a group of recruits took a tour of the university and then came to the Bowl to see the facilities, hear from Reno and watch the Blue-White Game.

They saw QB John Whitelaw (Hinsdale, Ill.) throw touchdown passes to WR Grant Wallace (St. Louis, Mo., 65 yards), TE John Runk (Cincinnati, Ohio, 10) and WR Jackson Liguori (Pacific Palisades, Calif., 34), a 36-yard scoring run by backup QB Derek Russell (Newton, Mass.), a 38-yard Philippe Panico (Boston, Mass.) field goal and other big plays from Bulldogs in both color jerseys.

"We came out really sluggish offensively, but made some plays as it went on. John [Whitelaw] made a couple of nice plays over the top. The offensive line came together a little better. We have to keep moving forward. It's encouraging and we definitely got better today," said Reno.

Whitelaw had the majority of the snaps behind center, but Russell and Jake Semones (Sanpoint, Idaho) also had plenty of opportunities. Whitelaw and Russell clearly made a case for them to be No. 1 and 2 heading into the fall.

"Both guys did a nice job today and made plays," said Reno, who would not say anyone has won any starting positions. "It's a good thing we have 30 or so practices in the fall because we will let that thing sort out."

Whitelaw, who will be a junior in the fall, moved well out of the pocket, connected with receivers all over the field and showed a nice touch.

"This past week it seemed like it really started to click for us," said Whitelaw, who is not overly confident about his own skill set. "I don't have the strongest arm, and I'm not the fastest guy… I just take what's there and let the guys around me make me look good."

The defense had its share of outstanding plays. DB Collin Bibb (San Antonio, Texas) made some big hits and backfield mate Nick Okano (Los Angeles, Calif.) picked off a pass.

"We've been learning the new system and getting used to the new coaches. There is much more emphasis on being tough and physical and playing hard-nosed football," said Bibb.

A number of Yale's accomplished players did not participate in today's four quarters (15 minute, running time) including LB Will McHale (Greenwich, Conn.), the captain, RB Mordecai Cargill (Cleveland Heights, Ohio), WR Chris Smith (Midlothian, Va.) and WR Deon Randall (San Diego, Calif.).  The Blue was the offense and defense wore white. Both had plenty of star performances.

Reno pointed out a few that came to mind on the field after the game. "Jackson Liguori played a heck of a game. Wynston Bouknight (Upper Marlboro, Md.) did a nice job for us. The guys on the offensive line did a pretty good job. On the defensive side, John Powers (DB, Hamden, Conn.) played pretty well. EJ Conway (OLB, Lutherville, Md.) had a good game."

Some members of Yale's 2006 football championship team were back today to take part in the presentation of the spring awards in the Kenney Center after the game.

"It's all about the history, tradition and pride of Yale football. This has been a great couple of days," said Reno.

Also on Saturday, the Yale coaching staff handed out the spring team awards which honor a member of the 2006 championship team.  Here are the winners.

  • QB (Matt Polhemus Award)  John Whitelaw
  • RB (Mike McLeod Award) Mordecai Cargill
  • OL (Ed McCarthy Award) Will Chism
  • WR (Chandler Henley Award) Grant Wallace
  • DL (Brandt Hollander Award) Chris Dooley
  • OLB (Brenden Sponheimer Award)  EJ Conway
  • ILB (Bobby Abare Award) Everett Johnson
  • DB (Steve Santoro Award) Charles Cook
  • Special Teams (Tom Mante Award) Beau Palin
  • Every Play Every Day (Larry Abare Award) John Powers
  • 1 Team (Casey Gerald Award)  Cameron Sandquist (offense), Chris Dooley (defense)



2nd: 36-yard QB Derek Russell run (Parker Toms kick)                       

2nd: 10-yard pass from QB John Whitelaw to TE John Runk (Panico kick)  

3rd: 65-yard pass from QB John Whitelaw to WR Grant Wallace (Panico kick)

4th: 38-yard FG by Philippe Panico

4th: 34-yard pass from John Whitelaw to WR Jackson Liguori      



OLB Max Fink (Miami Beach, Fla.) recovered two fumbles... WR Cameron Sandquist (Redmond, Wash.) caught numerous passes... RB Javi Sosa (Miami, Fla.) got many touches...  The first unit on the offensive line today was C John Oppenheimer (Menlo Park, Calif.), RG Ben Carbery (Oak Park, Ill.), RT Kyle White (Pompton Plains, NJ), LT Wes Gavin (San Diego, Calif.) and LG William Chism (Ridgeland, Miss.).


filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director


Jackson Liguori (84) and Everett Johnson (936) image by Jack Warhola