Navy Out-Recruits Academy Rivals

Navy's recent history of owning its service academy rivals is one of the main things that attracted quarterback D.J. Sargenti to Annapolis. Now, Sargenti and the rest of Navy's incoming class of recruits want to make sure they keep the Midshipmen's ship steaming ahead of Army and Air Force. The up-and-coming Mids hope to keep the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy victories and bowl appearances coming.

"We know we have some big shoes to fill," said Sargenti, from Ridgefield (N.J.) High. "But it is very important to keep (the CIC) Trophy in our hands. That's something the recruits I keep in touch have mentioned."

Sargenti, who is 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, fell under the radar of many schools. Ridgefield, which runs a spread option, Sargenti said, has taken its licks over the years. His size turned away some of the bigger schools, but fits into Navy's yard-eating machine on offense.

Sargenti put up some good numbers as a senior this fall. He rushed for 1,160 yards and six touchdowns and threw for 1,362 yards and eight touchdowns. Sargenti holds the Ridgefield career records in both rushing yards (2,967) and passing yards (3,385). He will attend USNA Prep in Newport, R.I. next fall.

Sargenti is one of several talented recruits Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo and his staff got on board. The others include tackle Beau Haworth, a whopping 6-7, 275 pounds, of Archbishop Spalding (Md.), tight end Cameron Mason (6-4, 225) of Brentwood (Tenn.) High, fullback Cyril Ontai of Kapolei (Hawaii) High and linebacker Shawn Reed (6-1, 213) of Kalaheo (Hawaii) High.

With recruiting winding down, Niumatalolo spoke with late last month about how the process is going. He is happy with his work and his staff's on the competitive recruiting trail.

"I think it's going well. We have gotten a great reception from our recruits. They have seen our games and we have gotten a lot of exposure. So, it's been going well, we just are going out and recruiting speed, which we always need."

Navy's speed on both sides of the ball has helped it become the toast of service academy football over most of the last decade. The Midshipmen beat Army 34-0 last December for ther seventh straight win over the Black Knights, who went 3-9 for a third straight season.

Navy has won 13 straight times against Air Force and Army since 2002, outscoring the programs 441-205 during the streak. During the Midshipmen's latest blowout win over Army, some Navy fans held a sign that read: "Congress, bail out Army!" Army scored only three points in 2007's 38-3 loss in Baltimore and was shut out in the patriotic series for the first time since a 28-0 loss in 1978.

Sargenti and the rest of the Navy recruits certainly hope to keep Navy's dominance going.

"This was the best football decision for me," Sargenti said. "Life after will also be great. The way Navy has beaten Army was a big factor in my decision. Not to bash Army, but they have lost a lot to their rival."

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