A blocked punt in the first quarter of a Saturday-night exhibition game at Harvard Stadium gave the White team an early lead while prompting onlookers to wonder whether one of the more unlikely scenarios in sports would come to fruition.
Would Harvard’s defense actually manage to outscore its own offense?
But the Crimson, the team representing Harvard’s offensive unit, responded quickly to even up the scoreboard and later scored once more to give it a 14-7 win over the White team, Harvard’s defensive unit.
The White team set the tone early by keeping the Crimson from earning a first down in the opening possession and forcing the offense to punt, at which point freshman linebacker Connor Loftus blocked the punt attempt and returned the ball the three-yard distance to the goal line.
“I think it was a missed assignment,” said junior defensive back Daniel Minamide. “We have a really good special teams coach. He knows what he’s doing. We’ll get everything straightened out.”
The extra point attempt was good to give the White team a 7-0 lead.
“We like to see the defense get some points on the board,” added rising captain and linebacker Alex Gedeon.
But the offense was soon able to counter. Sophomore Colton Chapple had struggled to find his rhythm in his first set of downs under center, but the quarterback was much more effective when he got the ball after the White team’s opening touchdown. Chapple and classmate Rich Zajeski, a running back, teamed up to move the chains.
The Crimson got on the board when Chapple found junior wide receiver Adam Chrissis streaking down the right side of the field.
“I think Colton did a great job,” Gedeon said. “Last year, he kind of got thrown in there. He’s a really dependable guy.”
In a game that pitted upcoming Harvard athletes against each other, it was fitting that it was another young athlete, rising sophomore Thomas Schadewald, who scored the winning touchdown. Schadewald’s rush through the center gave the offense a second-quarter lead it would never relinquish.
With many players either injured or taking semesters off before competing as fifth-year seniors, the game was largely a contest among freshmen and sophomores.
“I’m happy that they got the opportunity to play and learn from that experience,” Minamide said.
Minamide was one of the few upperclassmen to participate.
“We’re lucky we have Dan Minamide,” Gedeon said.