Navy hammers Army, 34-0

The Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets were lined up in the same parking lot prior to the march-on as part of the Army-Navy game yesterday in Philadelphia. And the Brigade could not resist a subtle dig at their team's recent dominance in the series.

As they passed within a few feet of the Corps, the Midshipmen playfully chanted "Seven in a row!"

Navy made good on the confidence with a 34-0 victory before 69,141 at Lincoln Financial Field. The crowd included President George W. Bush.

With the victory, Navy (8-4) won its seventh consecutive game against Army (3-9). It was the first Navy shutout in the series since 1978.

It was the seniors who led the way for Navy. A sign that it would be a senior-dominated day came just before the coin toss. Then, senior safety Jeff Deliz joined senior Jarod Bryant and junior Clint Sovie as the team captains.

Deliz had been a captain last year but had a season-ending injury after two games. His spot for the coin toss against Army last year was taken by de facto defensive captain Irv Spencer.

The Midshipmen also received a boost when senior Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku Enhada started his first game at quarterback dating from a victory over Temple on Nov. 1. He had been troubled by a hamstring injury for much of the year.

With Kaheaku-Enhada leading the way, Navy's first 30 offensive plays featured statistical contributions from seniors only. That included a 65-yard touchdown run by slotback Shun White; a 23-yard field goal from Matt Harmon; an 18-yard touchdown pass from Kaheaku-Enhada to White.

More pointedly: Navy's first 30 plays featured 8 runs by White, 10 from senior fullback Eric Kettani and six by Kaheaku-Enhada. Kaheaku-Enhada also completed two of seven passes -- to White and senior Tyree Barnes.

The seniors' dominance was underlined by a sequence on the last play of the first half. With the ball near midfield and one second to play, Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo inserted sophomore quarterback Ricky Dobbs for an apparent Hail Mary pass. Army, which had remained in its 4-3 defense, called timeout.

When the teams retook the field, Kaheaku-Enhada was at quarterback and the final play of the half was a run by Kettani.

Army entered with no shortage of emotion.

Its players broke out unprecedented camouflage uniforms -- gray camouflage pants, a black jersey with gray camouflage numbers and a gray-and-white camouflage helmet. The Corps wore camouflage baseball caps that were modeled after the new football helmets.

But it was a measure of Army's dismal day that its most impressive offensive achievement was completely overshadowed. Senior fullback Collin Mooney finished with a team-high 54 yards rushing; he broke the academy's single-season rushing record of 1,338 yards by one yard.

Yet that carry came on the game's final play. And if Mooney even realized his achievement, it was only a split second later that the field where he stood was overrun by joyous Navy players.

Navy's defensive game plan focused on stopping Mooney and sophomore quarterback Chip Bowden. The two entered having combined to carry the ball on 266 of Army's 433 running plays (61.4%) since the team's 21-17 loss to Texas A&M on Sept. 27. For the year, Mooney entered with 214 carries; Bowden had 180; no other player had more than 39.

Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green noticed the discrepancy. He said his game plan was to take away the inside preferred by Mooney and Bowden and leave the outside open. The plan hinged on the defensive line -- junior nose guard Nate Frazier in particular -- to control the interior and for aggressive play from safety Wyatt Middleton to take away Bowden before he could get outside.

It worked. Frazier had 7 tackles and Middleton added five and also recovered a fumble. The defense made its stamp on the game on Army's second possession.

The Black Knights went for it on 4th-and-3 from the Navy 33. The play was an option. Bowden faked to Mooney and tried to keep the ball on the outside. But freshman defensive end Jabari Tuani immediately made a correct read -- that Mooney did not have the ball -- and he and Frazier stopped Bowden for a two-yard loss.

"We talked all week that if we did our jobs and executed, good things would happen," Deliz said.

For the game, Navy recorded its second consecutive shutout -- the previous having been a 16-0 win over Northern Illinois on Nov. 25. It's the first time Navy had done that since it opened the 1978 season with two shutouts.

Meantime, White finished with 148 yards rushing; Kettani added 125 rushing yards and a third-quarter touchdown run. It was the first time this year Navy had two 100-yard rushers in the same game.

"That's the way it [the offense] should work," White said.

Navy played with heavy hearts. The father of senior cornerback Rashawn King died suddenly on Thursday night. Drexel King died of a heart attack on Thursday. He was very close with most team members. Navy wore "DK" stickers on their helmets in his honor. And a special moment occured after White scored each of his touchdowns: He pointed in the sky in an apparent honor to King's father.

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