Army vs Navy, 1963

In years gone by, there were many great Army-Navy Football Games. There were some so-so games that were interesting but largely forgettable and a few that were forgettable. One game that stands out in RABBLE's mind could be characterized in the great category. It remains one of the great ones in my opinion, a game that was nearly never played at all.

Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, the general consensus of opinion was that the game should be cancelled that year due to the death of the commander-in-chief just 8 days earlier. At the request of the Kennedy family, it was decided to play the game but it was rescheduled a week later than originally intended to be played.

In this trilogy of articles, one can relive the excitement and the greatness of the 1963 game as one of the truly finest in this most storied of rivalries---


Sports Editor
Newark Evening News (now defunct)

WEST POINT-"Don't push the panic button." That is not one of, the signs in Army football headquarters up here on the wintry Hudson. But from the way Coach Paul Dietzel talked yesterday about Navy's Roger Staubach, it is very much on his mind. You can be sure it has been impressed on the Army players, as a part of the psychological preparation for the service game in Philadelphia Saturday.

Dietzel was being pressed yesterday about Army's plans to stop the guided missile of the Severn. He would not, of course, be specific but he did say:

"You have to remember that nobody has stopped Staubach. Our Jim Valek has been scouting Navy all year and he has heard some funny conversations among scouts at their games. One scout told another that his team was going to put the heat on Staubach; that was the only way to stop him. Against that team Roger set a new Naval Academy record for offense.

The next week another scout said the first one had the wrong idea entirely. His team, he said, was not going to rush Staubach, but lie back and cover receivers. "We're going to let him pass but we don*t want him to run." Against that team Roger set another academy record for passing over 300 yards.

"The point is," Dietzel ' continued, "that you're probably not going to stop him. The important thing is that you play your game. You've got to expect him to complete some passes and make some runs. When he hits his first pass you can't push the panic button and decide your defense is hopeless."

Psychological Pressure

This could be important. Staubach has been built up to such ominous proportions-and rightly so-that he exerts at heavy psychological pressure on all opponents. When a team spends a week getting ready for him (three weeks in Army's case) and he still bombs them in the first quarter, either running or passing, it's easy to become demoralized and fall into a "what's the use" attitude.

Obviously Dietzel doesn't want any such collapse Saturday. The pressure on Army is extremely heavy, though, and so is the sense of frustration. The Cadets have lost four games in a row to Navy, two of them by big scores, and the situation is insufferable up here. No one is sure what the repercussions of another bad beating might be. It could come, too, if Army becomes demoralized Saturday.

Visible signs of determination to throw off the Navy chains are few here. The death of the President and the official 30-day period of mourning have muted the usual pre-game manifestations. Only one sign hangs from any building. It adorns the front of Grant Hall and it reads simply:

"We must. We can. We will."

On the bulletin board in the equipment room of the gym, where the boys put on their shoes before going out to practice, there are some reminders, such signs as:

"Mothball the Fleet." "Crumble Crabtown." "The Time has Come."

Most significant is a picture in the center of the board. It shows a Navy player with the number 12 on his white Jersey, running through three Army tacklers. Under it is the caption:

1 December 1962
Navy 34, Army 14
Remember Staubach!

On the physical side Dietzel says the team is in its best shape since the Air Force game Nov. 2. All the wounded who can recover have done so. This means the only boys not available are Tom Smith and Johnny Johnson, backs. It also means that Rollie Stichweh will start at quarterback, Ken Waldrop and Don Parcells at the halves and Ray Paske at fullback. If Army kicks off Saturday, Bill Chescavage will start at left end. Sam Champi of South Orange will be in if Army receives. Otherwise the first line will be what it has been practically all season-Bill Sherrell at the tight end, Ed Schillo and Bill Zadel at the tackles, Tom Cunningham and Dick Nowak at the guards and Lee Grasfeder at center.

Cook Will See Action

Curt Cook, a passing quarterback who was operated on before the season started but who was used in the last quarter of the Pitt game, is very likely to see considerable action. There are two reasons for figuring Cook will be in there: (1) he is Army's only good passer and, (2) Dietzel intimates that Stichweh will play some defense. The talented Stichweh is one of the best defensive backs Army has but he hasn't been used on defense this year because he has been running both the first and second units as quarterback.

The only time he got any rest was when the other team had the ball, at which time Jim Beierschmitt was wild-carded for him. If Cook does some quarterbacking this week, Stichweh can help the Army defense as a safety man. In the event of casualties to either, Frank Cosentino will get the call.

Despite the snow of the last few days, which has turned the rugged highlands here into a scene of dark, wintry beauty, Army has been working outdoors daily this week. The old plains field is clear, being covered at night and uncovered just before the boys come out the next afternoon.

There will be a rally tomorrow night but it won't be the lavish production of other years. The squad will leave by bus Friday morning for Philadelphia and loosen up in the stadium in the afternoon.

The New York Herald Tribune (now defunct)
PHILADELPHIA-- SILENT In the sunshine, 100,000 citizens stood with heads bared as 100 cadets from West Point and 100 midshipmen of Annapolis drew up In 18 alternate ranks at the north end of the green-dyed field. In flawless alignment, the ranks moved to midfield, halting there to face a color guard from the other end zone.

Cadet Rithard A. Chilcoat, first captain of the corps, made the simple announcement: The cadets and midshipmen dedicated this game to the memory of our late commander-in-chief, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

First captain of the midshipmen, Walter W,. Kesler asked for a minute of silence.

The West Point band played the National Anthem. From that moment on, nothing seemed less important than football, yet seldom in the 73 years since cadets and midshipmen first butted skulls in fun has an Army-Navy game furnished more captivating entertainment than this 64th Installment of the series.

Seldom has there been a keener match than this rouser between the heavy favorites from Annapolis and the victims of four consecutive conquests by the sea arm.

The way Army fought for this one, only the clock could have stopped the rabble's rush, and only the clock did, 21-15.

Maybe it was the calculated insult embroidered on every fetching Navy playsuit which brought out them beast in Army. In recent years the midshipmen have turned this meeting into a fancy dress ball, decking themselves out in uniforms of unaccustomed splendor just for the Army game.

This time they turned up all regal shimmering gold from helmets to the cunning half-socks above their two-toned booties. Across the withers of each gob read the words, "Drive for Five," an exhortation in Navyese, a galling reminder to the Cadets that they had lost four in a row.

Whether Army took this as a goad or whether the team was operating under forced draft even before the kickoff, the delegates from up the Hudson simply smashed Navy flat the first time Army had the ball, going 65 yards on a pounding running game for the opening touchdown.

Navy had held the ball for only three plays, and was in the bucket, 7 - 0.

Not many teams contain the wonderful Staubach for 24 minutes and nobody does it for 60. In the 10th minute of the second period he steered Navy to the 2-yard line and sent the 200-pound fullback, Pat Donnelly, in from there for the tying touchdown.

Then In the third quarter with Staubach passing and Donnelly running, Navy went 90 yards to take the lead, and in the fourth two 15-yard penalties for roughing helped Annapolis pad the margin to 21-7.

Before Navy's third touchdown, Army had been stopped on fourth down with inches to go for a first on the Navy 7. After the touchdown the Cadets went 52 yards and weren't stopped until Carl Stichweh, the quarterback, got his cleats in the end zone turf. Stichweh ran for a two- point conversion, too, so now Navy's lead was a mere 6 points at 21-15.

Army did the obvious thing and did it perfectly -a carefully aimed 11-yard kickoff which Stichweh captured for West Point, to begin a drive to the threshold of victory as the ball game ticked away.

1963 New York Herald Tribune Inc.

Dietzel's New Bandit-Stichweh




CLEVER DEVIL, that Paul Dietzel. They outlawed his Chinese Bandits, so the Army inventor hauled a new gadget to Philadelphia Stadium-a lone German bandit named Carl Roland Stichweh, who almost pulled the boldest daylight heist since the Brinks job.

When this shimmering, blue-eyed day began, there was only one quarterback in the Army-Navy game-Roger Staubach, who had gotten hotter notices in the sporting print than Khrushchev draws in Pravda. By dusk, there were certainly two quarterbacks on the scene. Stichweh vs. Staubach had given this cold, concrete barnyard its closest, toe-to-toe war since Marciano vs. Walcott.

Rollie the Robber Baron almost swiped everything but Navy's mustard-yellow britches- indeed, he came within one play of stealing the Middies' 21-15 victory. Army may forever remember the 1963 game as Dietzel's Unfinshed Symphony, the clock catching the Cadets two yards from a walloping upset, but the controversy should not obscure Herr Stichweh's heroics.

"Stichweh was the best quarterback on the field," said, Dietzel of his pale, wheat-haired Teutonic marvel. Well, what about it, Wayne Hardin? "Stichweh didn't surprise me," said Hardin. "He's a helluva football player. A lot of guts."

Herr Rollie Lives Up to Name

IN GERMAN, Stichweh translates as "sharp, pain" and Herr Rollie certainly gave one to Navy right in the neck. If statistics mean anything in such a fluid, see-saw afternoon, Stichweh measured against Staubach like this: He was a better runner (10 yards to 55 yards), but not so sharp a passer (three for 25 yards). It is as impossible as comparing sirloin steak with pie a la mode.

"We're different types," Stichweh said,"his cheeks coloring when questioned about Staubach. "Staubach is very capable. I'd better leave it at that."

Staubach had a victor's warmth toward the vanquished: "Rollie's great. He's just a terrific runner." It was a year ago that Stichweh busted the No. 1 rule of every buck private: "Never volunteer." On the bus leaving Philadelphia Stadium, Rollie leaned over to Dietzel and said, "Sir, I know we're losing all three of the quarterbacks and I'd like to give it a try." A defensive back, Rollie had been a fair passer at Mineola High, L. I., but he was the swiftest bloke on Dietzel's squad as Navy discovered repeatedly on Stichweh's rollouts.

Grabbing the spotlight away from Staubach, of course, is tougher than stealing a scene from Jackie Gleason. Stichweh did it the hard way - "he played 55 minutes, going both ways," reminded, Dietzel. There were raw, red welts on Rollie's back as testimony to the ordeal.

"I'm just sorry we couldn't win it for the 14 seniors on this club," said Stichweh, draping his sinewy, 6-4 frame in Army gray, "I guess I'll never forget the end of this one. I was yelling to the guys, calling Waldrop to run a power sweep off tackle, but they couldn't hear me for the crowd noise. Then the referee picked up the ball and handed it to Navy's (Tom) Lynch and I knew the game was over."

Damp-eyed Cadets filed by Stichweh's locker, all of them shaking his hand with a variation on the same comment: "Rollie, you were the greatest on the field." Maybe the only trophy they could take away, though, was Hardin's gracious admission: "It was unfortunate for Army, because one more play would probably have taken them in for the victory."

Even for Army-Navy, the head- banging was usually fierce. "I've never played against a team that hit that hard,' said Staubach. "Whew, they were racking us up. We couldn't play our real game because they were knocking us over our feet." And as Roger noted, two defensive plays were pivotal moments Army stopped Navy early on its goal, and Navy later bashing in Army four-and-one on the eight- "I called a bad play," Dietzel moaned.

Stichweh and Dietzel came with one thought: ram the ball down Navy's throat on the first drive, control the ball, never let up the pressure. It was a simple as repeatedly conking a guy on the temple with a ballpeen hammer- Stichweh would roll right or left, and then Waldrop would burst to the right on a weakside reverse. With those two plays, Army jammed 65 yards to score and kept Navy in 60 minutes of trouble.

Cadets Wouldn't Give Up

If Staubach was less impressive than usual, Hardin knew why. "We didn't have the ball enough," said Hardin. And Staubach said to his dad, eyebrows raised in disbelief, "Why, I didn't get my hands on the ball but one time in the last quarter, those guys wouldn't give it up.'

A tough ground-slogger named Pat Donnelly, who scored three times, probably saved Navy's hide. "He's the next All American at Annapolis," crowed Rick Forzano, the guy who recruited Staubach.

Indeed, Navy didn't lead until Donnelly thrashed into the end zone with 37 minutes of action gone. Then they moved ahead, 21-7. Bang, Army fought back to make it 21-15 - "A magnificent effort," said Dietzel -but incredibly Army could not go 49 yards in six minutes to win it. You would think they were freezing the ball.

"Gee, we went 80 yards against Air Force in less time than that," mourned Stichweh. "I couldn't believe we wouldn't make it. No, I didn't want to pass out-of-bounds and stop the clock because we needed the downs. The time outs were gone. At the end I sort of hugged Skip Orr of Navy -he and I were high school friends -and he said, 'Sorry Rollie.'"

So Hardin's "drive for five" policy paid off, and you couldn't blame Dietzel for one chagrined needle.

"How did Navy ever beat Pitt?" be wondered out loud. The question for scholars now, though, is: Can Navy beat Texas? "We're going to put it to them, said Staubach of the Cotton Bowl opponent. "They can't hit any rougher than Army did. Nobody can." Maybe it will be Dietzel's time to drum up the slogans now: "Off the Floor in '64" maybe. Or "Nix on Six.' Or "Gun for One."

Pleasantly for the 102,000 buffs, both Stichweh and Staubach will be on the stage again. With these guys around, you pay $8.50 to see a million-bucks worth of quarterbacking.

1963 Philadelphia Bulletin Top Stories