Army vs Navy, 1962

In this three-part storyline from articles by Red Smith, Joe Williams and Gus Steiger, one can read how the 1962 Army- Navy Football game was all Navy, witnessed by a former Navy Lt., President John F. Kennedy. A year later less about a week, Kennedy was assasinated in Dallas, Texas, on that fateful day in November, 1963.

By Gus Steiger
The New York Mirror (now defunct)

PHILADLPHIA- DECEMBER 1, 1962---"Today is ours," the West Point Cadet Corps declared to the crowd of 98,616 in Philadelphia Stadium by means of a placard demonstration before the 63rd annual Army-Navy game got under way this summery, sunny afternoon. The young men from West Point were wrong, quite emphatically.

Led by Roger Staubach, a sophomore quarterback, Navy rode roughshod over Army to win by a lopsided 34-14 score in what was considered a toss-up engagement.

Thus did Paul Dietzel close out his first season as West Point coach in virtual disaster, while his opposite number, Wayne Hardin, registered an unprecedented achievement. Hardin scored his fourth straight triumph over Army, a first-time accomplishment for a Navy coach.

Before President Kennedy, assorted Washington officialdom and squads of military, Navy moved into the lead after 4 minutes, 21 seconds of play and never let go of its advantage on this 63-degree day, a day in stark contrast to previous service game inclemency.

To show a profit, Army knew beforehand it had to contain the youthful Staubach, 20-year-old, 6-2, 190-pound Cincinnati youngster. The Cadets fell far short of that requirement with dire results.

Staubach, a third-string back for Navy's first three games this season, had a hand in scoring four of the winners' five touchdowns. He ran brilliantly for two tallies, one two yards and the other 20, and passed twice for six-point aerials, for 12 yards to Neil Henderson and 65 yards to Nick Markoff.

Staubach had gone to the bench when Navy tallied its final TD on a five-yard toss from Ron Klemick to Jim Campbell.

Staubach dominated this contest in the manner of a Joe Bellino of recent Annapolis vintage.

The slender Ohioan completed 10 out of 12 passes for 204 yards. This in itself was a shining achievement but several times he got off throws when trapped and hurried behind the 1ine by Cadet defenders.

He gained 54 yards rushing, the best of any back on the field but he also was tossed for losses of 20 yards when seeking to pass for a net of 34. Closest to him was Army's John Seymour with 43 yards rushing. On this afternoon's spectacular note, Staubach finished a really brilliant season with 68 completions out of 97 throws for 982 yards and seven touchdowns. This was practically all gained after he attained varsity status for the last seven contests. His two six-pointers today gave him seven for the year.

As Casey Stengel might say, an amazing record for a sophomore back. Army did not look so bad in the statistics, but where so much was expected in this climax game of the Eastern college campaign, the Cadets looked lamentable indeed. Their supposedly crunching ground attack left much to be desired and their aerial defense was inadequate, to put it mildly.

They left Navy receivers completely unattended in the open, a glaring example being Markoff on his touchdown.

Army's first tally came on a one-yard plunge by Don Parcells late in the second quarter following a 54-yard Cammy Lewis aerial to Bob Wright that put the ball or the two. That left the Cadets trailing by 15-6 at the half.

Far in arrears in the fourth quarter, the Cadets tallied again on a 64-yard, nine-play aerial drive with Lewis tossing out of the shot-gun aerial formation rather the "T". Cammy hurled to Seymour from the two for the score and again to Joh Ellerson for the two conversion points.

The Cadets lost no time in falling in arrears and this was a matter of their own doing. After Pat Donnelly had caught them asleep with a 53-yard quick kick, LE Grasfeder passed far over Dick Peterson's head when the Cadets dropped back to kick from their own 16. The toss sailed into the end zone and over the end line for an automatic safety.

Well along in the quarter, a 36-yard kick return by Joe Blackgrove got the soldiers on the move but, thwarted on the rival 20, Dick Heydt attempted a placement from the 27.

Navy's response was an 80-yard, nine-play touchdown move, featured by a Staubach - Ed Merino 40-yard aerial and closed out by a Staubach toss to Henderson on the goal line from the 12.

Roger started Navy's second touchdown advance with a 15-yard toss to Campbell and finished it off the 62-yard, nine-play march with a brilliant 20-yard dash wherein he avoided numerous efforts of the inept Cadets. Army then got on the scoreboard after Lewis' 54-yard aerial to Wright.

Army sought to run the ball on fourth and five midway in the third on Navy's 33-yard line. This was another Army error, for Navy took the ball on downs and a moment later Staubach ran to his left, stopped and tossed to Markoff, all alone in the right flat ten yards beyond the scrimmage line, for a 65-yard tally.

Late in the third frame, Campbell took a Staubach toss right out of the hands of Cadet Bill Clark, seeking to intercept, for a 53-yard play as the first gesture in an 89-yard, nine-play drive that culminated early in the fourth on Staubach's two-yard run around end for his second six-pointer.

Army's aerial touchdown drive followed the ensuing kickoff. But having scored again, the Soldiers gave it right back. After Navy had downed a Joe Ince boot on the rival four, Walt Pierce intercepted Lewis and ran back 10 yards to the Army five. Klemick immediately tossed to Campbell for the final score.

   ARMY      0   6   0   8 - 14
   NAVY      8   7   7  12-  34

                          ARMY     NAVY
   First Downs             13       17
   Rushing Yardage        120      102      
   Passing Yardage        138      220
   Passes                8-13    12-15
   Passes INT. by           0        2
   Punts               2-31.5   5-45.5
   Fumbles Lost             3        1
   Yards Penalized         35       55


By Red Smith
The New York Herald-Tribune (now defunct)
December, 1962

When the corps of Cadets had marched onto the painted field, bright young scholars in the ranks lifted their hats to reveal white beanies covering their intelligent knobs. Studiously spaced, the yomulkas formed the letters: "Today is ours." The first visit was to flip a coin for the kickoff, and formed the letters: "Today is ours." The spelling was exemplary and the sentiment laudable. The date couldn't have been more wrong.

As it turned out, there are some pretty fair spellers down at Annapolis's, too, who decorated Navy's glossy gold football helmets with Chinese characters reading, "Beat Army." That the Midshipmen did, with swift, efficiency and sure confidence in the 63d renewal of their holy war with the men of West Point. Army's elegantly arrayed platoons had the sartorial splendor but for the fourth year in a row Navy had the men and the muscles to take command of this football game at the outset and run the show with the hard-fisted tyranny of Capt. Bligh.

Except for a half-dozen Cadets who were Plebes in 1958 and are still in the Academy due to academic delays, there isn't an undergraduate at West Point who has rooted Army in victory over its service rival. For that matter, there isn't a President in the White House who has either. That old torpedo boat skipper, Lt. John F. Kennedy (ret.) sat bareheaded and coatless in the bitter winds of last November while Annapolis wrestled the military down, 13-7. He took a more active role in the proceedings Saturday in Philadelphia Stadium, twice making his appearance on the field.

The first visit was to flip a coin for the kickoff, and he spun the silver dollar as though he owned it. Navy won, and Steve Hoy, captain of the Annapolis team, got the Presidential silver. After watching the first half from Navy's side of the field, Lt.

Kennedy crossed to the sunny Army Stands, with an honor guard of Cadets and Midshipmen making an aisle for him. When he was halfway across, a weaving character wearing an olive-green sports shirt burst through the uniformed ranks and was almost within arm's reach of the President when Secret Service men grabbed him. Chances are the guy was only trying to make a touch, and at the moment it offered an object lesson in the un-wisdom of giving away dollars in public. As cops hustled the bum away, however, a small shudder swept over 100,000 witnesses: with a sudden chill of horror, they were realizing what could have happened if the stranger had been "loaded" in a mote literal sense than he was.

In a football sense, it was the Midshipmen who were loaded to the teeth. They had more weapons than Army and bigger ones, and the biggest of all was Roger Staubach, their sterling sophomore quarterback. That strapping young man from Cincinnati threw passes for two touchdowns and ran for two others before retiring to watch while his colleagues scored a fifth. (Five visits to the Army end zone, two conversions and the safety which opened the scoring made up the final score of 34-14.) It wasn't as though Army hadn't heard of Staubach. Thoroughly briefed on the young man's gifts as a passer, the Cadets rushed him hungrily, hounding him all over the field. But this is a boy who dotes on abuse, then rises to strike back swiftly.

He would scoot and scamper and duck and dodge, gambling many yards by retreating, then suddenly circle away from pursuit and throw a strike. He may not have been the deciding factor, for Navy held all the winning cards of this game, but it was Staubach who made it a rout.

This was Navy's first encounter with Paul Dietzel's three widely advertised platoons-the regulars, the go team and the exotic Chinese Bandits. On the field, the men of Annapolis handled all three units with impartial brusqueness, and in the Navy stands there was gay derision of the Dietzel theatrics.

The Oriental lettering on the Navy headgear was meant derisively, of course, and whenever the Bandits went into action, the Annapolis cheering section flowered with tiny American flags suggesting that homegrown brigands were good enough on the Severn River.


By Joe Williams
The New York World-Telegram and the Sun (now defunct)
December, 1962
For the first time in the history of the Army-Navy brass-and-gold series, Navy football players were identified last Saturday by names stitched to the back of their jerseys. This was designed as a spectator service and as such was commendable.

There was one Navy player, however, who needed identification about as much as does the Statue of Liberty. This was a 20-year-old sophomore, name of Roger Staubach, who just might be the best college quarterback of the year.

The Cincinnati youngster stole the show. He even took the play away from President John F. Kennedy. It probably would have been the same even if the nation's Chief Excutive had been accompanied by the glamorous Jacqueline and button cute Caroline.

Realistically, there can be no such thing as a one-man team in any sport, but this 6-2, 190-pounder came very close to being precisely that. Certainly, he was decidedly the difference as Navy backed up Army for the fourth successive year.

Besides his passing and running, which were superb, the dazzling Dutchman performed feats of sorcery that left the Cadets gasping in disbelief. They could have him completely surrounded, only to find when they closed in that he had magically evaporated into the shimmering Philadelphia sun.

"I never saw anything like that boy since Red Cagle," said Col Earl (Red) Blaik after the Cadets' latest frustration.

Blaik would know about Cagle. So would some of us other old- timers. Blaik was the Army backfield coach during Cagle's tenure. Cagle also ran, passed and cut exceedingly well. And like the precocious Navy hero, he also was an astounding escape artist.

I still retain a vivid montage of a wildly implausible breakaway Cagle executed at the expense of one of Pop Warner's Stanford teams in Yankee Stadium before 88,000 fans, believed to be the largest crowd ever to see a football game in New York.

The play may have started as a pass. Anyway, it soon became a crazy mixed-up run, with all of the Stanfords in pursuit. Cagle, rushed, ran backward, then from one sideline to the other, eluding tackler after tackler. Finally, apparently hopelessly trapped, he sifted through a wall of straining arms and churning feet and, incredibly, was off for 60 yards. All told, he must have covered 200.

Blaik's comparison is perfect. Staubach is a carbon-copy Cagle, spectacular, mercurial, practically ectoplasmic.

What makes Staubach tick? A large part of the answer is football instinct plus a rousing zest for the game. Add to these attributes the essentials of skills and physique, and the total is something extra special.

At the post-game press conference, no one was unkind enough to intrude on Wayne Hardin's joy by asking the young Navy coach why he had waited until the fourth game of the season to exploit Staubach, prior to then little more than a silhouette on the third team.

All the youngster did when Hardin turned him loose against Cornell was drive the Middies to six TDs, score two himself, complete 9 of 11 passes and weave through a half-dozen Big Red tacklers on a 68-yard gallop.

Like all coaches, Hardin probably was reluctant to entrust the steering wheel to a sophomore.

In losing, the Cadets gave it all they had. It was far from enough not with the day the dazzling Dutchman was having. The Cadets were desperately eager to win this one; if they failed, it meant an entire generation of West Pointers would graduate without having once seen Army beat Navy.

The tension showed in frequent off- sides and the Chinese Bandits did not live. up to their awesome' billing. And it wasn't until late in the game, with hope all but gone, that the Cadets settled down and began to play with poise and precision.

No one could have been more disappointed than coach Paul Dietzel, who has done so much to fire the enthusiasm of the corps. He had replaced Dale Hall, dismissed after losing three in a row to Navy. Tacitly, his No. 1 assignment from the brass was to beat the ancient enemy . . . and, if Hardin had waited until next season to discover Staubach the star back, the new coach would almost surely have been able to report "mission accomplished. Sir." Top Stories