New Faces Emerge in Spring Game

April 24, 2004

New Haven, CT - With several key members of the 2004 squad not even suited up, the Yale Bulldogs showcased some new faces in the annual Blue-White spring scrimmage Saturday afternoon. Chandler Henley, who finished fourth on the team with 19 catches last year, caught two touchdown passes to help the White team to a come-from-behind 20-16 victory.

Quarterback Alvin Cowan was one of several notable Elis not in the game. He and senior classmates Tim Barrett, Bryant Dieffenbacher, Kenneth Estrera and Barton Simmons -- all starters -- received medical waivers to return next season due to injuries suffered earlier in their careers. As part of that procedure, each of them had to take the spring semester off.

With Cowan out, backups Jeff Mroz and Todd Feireisen split duties at quarterback. The first big play of the game came when Andrew Butler picked off a Mroz pass to end Blue's first drive of the game. Feiereisen avoided a similar fate when he caught one of his own passes that was batted at the line on White's ensuing drive. Neither team found the endzone until Jordan Spence broke off a 14-yard run to cap a 12-play drive for Blue.

An interception by Ryan King kept Blue in command, setting up a 38-yard touchdown pass to Ralph Plumb. White fought back with its longest drive of the day, a 14-play effort that was nearly stymied by a goal-line stand before Robert Carr punched the ball in on fourth-and-goal from the one. Still, Blue responded at the end of the first half thanks to a 37-yard pass from Mroz to Matthew Blodgett to set up a 37-yard field goal from Andrew Sullivan 17 seconds before halftime for a 16-6 edge.

The first of Henley's touchdown receptions, a 57-yarder, brought the score to 16-13 on White's first drive of the second half. Henley scored again on the next drive, catching a six-yard strike for a 20-16 lead. A Mike Holben interception at the White 30 ended Blue's next drive, and they would not threaten the lead again.

The game was played in the Yale Bowl and attracted several hundred fans, including 85 prospective recruits on unofficial visits. Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football Jack Siedlecki was pleased with what he saw both on and off the field.

"I liked the format, and I think the kids liked it," he said. "These high school juniors got a chance to see us play, and hopefully they were impressed."

report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity Department