top of page
  • Rock Hoffman

ARMY TAKES DOWN NAVY IN OVERTIME

BY ROCK HOFFMAN

College Football Editor


If it were any other college football teams playing on Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field, the game would’ve been forgotten not long after it was over, but it was Army and Navy doing battle for the 123rd time. So, while it wasn’t the most technically well-played game, it was the Army-Navy game, and it means more than that. Army won 20-17 when Quinn Maretzki kicked a 39-yard field goal in the second overtime. The Black Knights (6-6) won despite having just 153 yards of offense – for the game. Their only offensive touchdown came in the first overtime but, as is one of the many great traditions of this game, the Army Alma Mater was sung second because they were victorious.


“As Erk Russell used to say, ‘had ‘em the whole way,’” a smiling Army head coach Jeff Monken said referencing the legendary coach who won three National Championships at Georgia Southern at the then 1-AA level in the 1980s. “What a win, what a game. That was two teams that fought as hard as they possibly could. I still don’t know how we won but our guys just found a way. We were just fortunate that the ball bounced our way a couple of times.”


The biggest bounce for the Black Knights came in the second overtime when Navy running back Anton Hall Jr., who had raced 77 yards in the third quarter for the Midshipmen’s first touchdown, fumbled at the Army one-yard line on a third-and-goal play. Austin Hill and Kalvyn Crummie hit Hall to knock the ball loose while Darius Richardson emerged from the scrum with the ball for Army. From there, it was all on Maretzki, who had forced the extra periods with a 37-yard field goal with less than two minutes left in regulation.


“I'm so thankful for the coaches and for this team to put me in a position to be able to do that,” said Maretzki, a junior from Hawaii. “This team fought so hard all season, and especially in this game. We battled and just to be able to go out there and end that game in that way was really a blessing. It's so great to get that win.”


Navy (4-8) dominated time of possession in the first half, holding onto the ball for more than 22 minutes but only had a 44-yard field goal by Bijan Nichols to show for it. They trailed 7-3 at halftime despite holding the Black Knights to just 33 yards on offense. Army’s other bounce came late in the second quarter when Noah Short blocked a punt, his teammate Jabril Williams scooped the ball up as he rolled at the goal line then he lost control of the ball only to fall on it again inches before going out of the back of the end zone.


NOAH SHORT (47) BLOCKS A PUNT THAT WOULD LEAD TO A TOUCHDOWN FOR ARMY (Photo by Jesse Garber)

In the overtime – the first in Army-Navy history – each time scored on their first play. Markel Johnson ran 25 yards for the Black Knights' touchdown while Navy quarterback Xavier Arline connected with Maquel Haywood on a 25-yard pass for the score.


The Mids were poised to take the lead in the second overtime only to lose the ball and, ultimately, the game.


“What do you tell someone when your heart gets ripped out,” said a despondent Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo when asked what he said to his players after the game.


NAVY'S XAVIER ARLINE (7) CONSOLES ANTON HALL JR. (34) AFTER HALL FUMBLED (Photo by Jesse Garber)

His counterpart summed it all up.


“I said this to many people when they ask me what's different about this game,” said Monken, who is now 5-4 against Navy. “The difference is the players. There are places that have great crowds. I mean, I looked around and every seat was full in that place. It was awesome. What a great crowd. There are stadiums like that every Saturday afternoon around the country.


“What's different in this game is the players. Every one of these players and every one of those young people that were sitting up in the stands that are their classmates have made a pledge to serve this nation and to perhaps pay the ultimate price for all the rest of us who haven't made that pledge. That's what makes this game different. It makes the way they play this game different.


“They are fighting as hard as they can on every snap. That's both sides. Tough kids, tough people that care so much about who they represent. It feels like every single play, that the game is hanging in the balance. That's the intensity of this game. It was fought that way from start to finish.”


ARMY CENTER AND CO-CAPTAIN CONNOR BISHOP, AN ARCHBISHOP WOOD GRADUATE (Photo by Jesse Garber)

NOTES - It was the 90th time the game was played in Philadelphia and won’t return until 2027. Next year, it will be held at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA…Army has won five of seven in the series which dates to 1890. Navy leads all-time 62-54-7…Each academy wore special uniforms; the Army honored the 1st Armored Division from World War II – the “Old Ironsides.” While Navy was celebrating the 54 Midshipmen (the most from any institution) who went on to become astronauts…Hall’s 77-yard touchdown run was the longest rushing score for Navy in the game’s history…Bucks County native Connor Bishop was Army’s center, he was making his 31st career start. He’s a team captain and has one of the highest GPAs on the team at 3.97 while majoring in management. Bishop, from Holland, PA, graduated from Archbishop Wood and won two PIAA football championships with the Vikings.



Email Rock Hoffman at rock@footballstories.com


16 views0 comments
bottom of page