Decorated tailback Jonathan Grimes (’12) stayed out of the fray. Golden boy quarterback Michael Paulus (’12), still nursing a shoulder injury, didn’t even dress. The day’s weather forecast ranged from “threatening” to “apocalyptic.” Yet 1,000 fans showed up (half of last year’s number) for the annual Green and Gold game on Saturday, Tribe football’s rite of Spring.
The offense, in green, managed four touchdowns against the white-clad defense. The Tribe defense, in turn, registered half a dozen sacks. Take that for what you will.
The highlight of the scrimmage came at its completion, as players took a knee in the center of the field and the team announced its captains for the upcoming campaign. Unsurprisingly, workhorse Jonathan Grimes as well as standout senior linebacker Jake Trantin and senior defensive end Marcus Hyde were named. Senior center James Pagliaro, a returning starter from last season, rounded out the group.
Grimes, who has already solidified his place in Tribe football history and didn’t risk injury in Saturday’s scrimmage, earned the John A. Stewart Winter Warrior Award, the team’s highest recognition for off-season work ethic. Backup tailbacks, redshirt freshmen Jarrell Cooper and Darnell Laws, and Meltoya Jones (’12) largely filled in for Grimes during the game, racking up 141 combined yards and a couple of touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Paulus paced the sidelines in sweatpants as four other quarterbacks took snaps. Redshirt freshman Raphael Ortiz had the best performance of the pack, throwing for 102 yards and one touchdown on 5-11 passing. Michael Graham (’13) also tossed a touchdown pass to first-team All-CAA tight end Alex Gottlieb (’12).
On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Jake Trantin registered a sack and a forced fumble. The Tribe sorely missed Trantin in its defensive front seven last season, and his return will anchor the 2011 squad. Linebackers Dante Cook (’12) and Airek Green (’12) also registerd sacks.
On the defensive line, Nick Zaremba (’12) notched a pair of sacks and sophomore Sam Johnson added another sack and a tackle for loss.
The game wrapped up the Tribe’s spring schedule, and the team will head into summer workouts and conditioning before traveling to Charlottesville on September 3rd to face UVA in its season opener. This will be the second time the two teams have met in the past three seasons, after the Tribe embarrassed the Cavaliers 26-14 in their 2009 season-opener.