Navy beats Army again - Los Angeles Post-ExaminerLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Navy beats Army again

Navy quarterback Keenan  Reynolds' 1-yard plunge with 12:07 remaining was the difference in a 17-10 win. (Jon Gallo)

Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds’ 1-yard plunge with 12:07 remaining was the difference in a 17-10 win. (Jon Gallo)

The Navy Midshipmen extended their series-record winning streak over the Army Black Knights to 13 with a 17-10 win in front of 70,935 fans at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday.

“I couldn’t be more proud of a group of seniors. For them to finish 4-0 against Army is a great accomplishment,” Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “Our approach is to not talk about the streak. Our thoughts have always been focused on the preparation for this game. It’s a heck of a run and you have to tip your hat to all the players that came before.”

In the teams’ 115th meeting, Army (4-8) scored first, providing the only points of the first quarter when Navy punter Pablo Beltran had his first career blocked punt by Josh Jenkins, with Xavier Moss scooping the ball up and running seven yards into the end zone less than five minutes into the game. It was Army’s first non-offensive touchdown against Navy since 2001 – the last time the Black Knights defeated the Midshipmen.

Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo, who replaced Paul Johnson at the end of the 2007 season, became the school’s all-time winningest coach on Saturday with a record of 56-35, topping the mark set by George Welch (55-46-1) from 1973-1981. Navy’s been playing football for 133 years. (Jon Gallo)

Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo, who replaced Paul Johnson at the end of the 2007 season, became the school’s all-time winningest coach on Saturday with a record of 56-35, topping the mark set by George Welch (55-46-1) from 1973-1981. Navy’s been playing football for 133 years. (Jon Gallo)

“You don’t win too many games when you get a punt blocked for a touchdown,” Niumatalolo said. “I’m very proud of the way our guys bounced back.”

The second quarter was scoreless until the final minute when Navy (7-5) capped a 70-yard drive on six plays, scoring on a nine-yard pass from Keenan Reynolds to Jamir Tillman with 18 seconds left in the half.  The drive began after a huge stop by the Navy defense on a fourth and one at the Midshipmen’s 30-yard line.

Navy took its first lead of the game on its opening drive of the second half. After a 41-yard kickoff return by Ryan Williams-Jenkins gave the Midshipmen possession at midfield, Navy went 22 yards in nine plays to set up Austin Grebe’s career-long 45-yard field goal with 9:43 left in the third quarter.

Army drove to the Navy 33 on its ensuing possession but failed to tie the game when Daniel Grochowski’s 49-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left with 4:56 left in the quarter.

Of course the football for the Army-Navy game was delivered by skydivers. (Chris Swanson)

Of course the football for the Army-Navy game was delivered by skydivers. (Chris Swanson)

Navy scored again in the fourth quarter on a quarterback sneak by Reynolds from the Army’s 1-yard line that gave the Midshipmen a 17-7 with 12:07 left to play.  Army’s next possession took Black Knights to Navy’s 38, but a forced fumble by Paul Quessenberry and recovery by Will Anthony ended the drive.

The Black Knights got the ball back at their own 21 after Reynolds’ fumble was recovered by Joe Drummond with 3:47 left in the game.  Army pulled to within 17-10 after Grochowski’s 52-yard field goal with 1:52 left, but Navy’s Thomas Wilson recovered the onsides kick, enabling the Midshipmen to run out the clock and secure the win.

“I’m going to take the blame for that. I probably pulled out early,” Reynolds said. “It was a crucial moment, but we trusted our defense to get a stop.”

Navy’s win gives it a 59-49-7 edge in the overall series and a 3-2 edge in games played in Baltimore, which will next host the game in 2016.

Navy kicker Austin Grebe, left, and Pablo Beltran were embraced by their Midshipmen after a 17-10 win over M&T Bank Stadium. (Jon Gallo)

Navy kicker Austin Grebe, left, and Pablo Beltran were embraced by their Midshipmen after a 17-10 win over Army at M&T Bank Stadium. (Jon Gallo)

Niumatalolo, who replaced Paul Johnson at the end of the 2007 season, became the school’s all-time winningest coach on Saturday with a record of 56-35, topping the mark set by George Welch (55-46-1) from 1973-1981. Navy’s been playing football for 133 years.

“It’s pretty sweet. It doesn’t get much better,” Reynolds said. “It’s kind of like two amazing things on one day, continuing the streak and also giving him the all-time winningest coach in Navy history. It doesn’t get much better than that for us, to send him out like that, and what better way to give him that record than to be Army.”

Niumatalolo was carried by Paul Quessenberry and Will Anthony from midfield to the cheering brigade in the end zone.

“My players did that. I didn’t want to do that. I tried to get down,” Niumatalolo said.

This was the final game of the season for the Black Knights, as they failed to win the mandatory six games necessary to qualify for a bowl game. The Midshipmen’s final stop will be the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23, where they will take on the San Diego State Aztecs (7-5).

This was the final game of the season for the Black Knights, as they failed to win the mandatory six games necessary to qualify for a bowl game.  The Midshipmen’s final stop will be the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23, where they will take on the San Diego State Aztecs (7-5).


About the author

Jon Gallo

Jon Gallo is an award-winning journalist and editor with 18 years experience, including stints as a staff writer at The Washington Post and sports editor at The Baltimore Examiner. He's also an editor for CBSSports.com. He's crossing his fingers the only baseball team in Baltimore that will contend for a title this summer won't be his fantasy squad, the Catonsville Cartel. He also believes the government should declare federal holidays in honor of the following: the Round of 64 of the NCAA men's basketball tournament; the Friday of the Sweet 16; the Monday after the Super Bowl; and of course, the day after the release of the latest Madden NFL video game. Contact the author.
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