Under the ever-watchful eye of Ken Niumatalolo, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds lifts the Midshipmen to a 21-17 victory in the annual Army Navy Game.
(Philadelphia, C & P) The Army Navy Game is one of the most anticipated games of the year. There were 69,722 people on hand to watch Navy defeat Army 21-17 Saturday in Philadelphia. In a tightly contested affair, Navy’s defense was able to keep the Army defense from scoring twice late in the fourth quarter. With the victory, Navy increased its winning streak over Army to 14 games. There is one dynamic that competed in their final Army-Navy Game together. Navy Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo and Quarterback Keenan Reynolds have been two of the reasons that Navy has been successful the last few years.
There have been reports that Niumatalolo was meeting with BYU Monday in regards to the head coach vacancy at the school. Former BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall left for the same position at the University of Virginia. Early in the week, Niumatalolo made the decision to address the matter and confirm he would be traveling to Provo to meet with the BYU administration.
“I didn’t want to be one of those guys who says ‘Read my Lips, I’m not going anywhere’ and next thing you know, you see them on a plane somewhere. I’ve known coaches that take another job and don’t tell any of their other coaches. How do you do that? I couldn’t do that to these kids. I love these guys too much. We are a family, and you don’t do that to your family. I took some criticism for it, but I know it was the right thing to do.”
“I love these kids. I had some other opportunities, but I wasn’t interested. This one was different because it’s who I am. It’s faith. That is the only reason. It has nothing to do with the Naval Academy or these players. I’ve come to work 18 years loving my job. I love to come to work. I’ve been here 18 years. It’s been my life. My kids have grown up here. I’ve given everything for this academy.”
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who was playing in his final Army-Navy game, finished with three total touchdowns (two rushing and one passing). He was named the game’s MVP. With all of the talk about him being a possible Heisman candidate and talk about him possibly being drafted by an NFL team, there was only one thing that was important to him.
“We get the [Commander in Chief] trophy back. That was the No. 1 goal. After the loss to go to the conference championship, this was the one we wanted to get. Losing this one would have hurt more.”
“I glad he came” Niumatalolo stated about his quarterback. “He was that close to having a lightning bolt on the side of his helmet. There were some sleepless nights until we found out he committed to coming here. I’m glad he came to Annapolis.”
“I thought he was going to be a good player, but I didn’t have a clue he was going to be this good. He has surpassed everybody’s thoughts on how good he was.”
Forget the fact that Navy now has a 14 game winning streak against Army. Forget the fact that there was a player who was mentioned as a possible Heisman Trophy nominee that would be under center for one of the teams. Forget the fact that Navy’s head coach was scheduled to have a meeting with another institution to interview for their vacant head coaching position.
For three hours, it didn’t matter if the game was played in Veterans Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field or on a carrier out in the Pacific Ocean. Whenever these two teams play, the country forgets about everything else going on in the country and watch the last Army-Navy Game that included two Navy icons.