Service Academy Pride
9:06 PM, Oct 1, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In Annapolis today, Air Force and Navy met on “the fields of friendly strife.” With 10:00 left in the game, Air Force led 28-10, having more or less dominated play for the first 50 minutes. With 2:09 left, the Falcons still led 28-17. Then Navy nailed a must-make 37-yard field goal, recovered the ensuing onside kick, scored a touchdown on 3rd-and-goal with 0:19 left, and made the subsequent 2-point conversion on an option pitch just inside the left pylon: 28-28, overtime.
Air Force won the toss and chose to play defense. Navy, now with all the momentum, scored a touchdown on quarterback Kriss Proctor’s quarterback sneak to take a 6-point lead in overtime. But a dead-ball personal foul was called on Proctor, who, in a moment of overzealousness, bumped and said something to an Air Force player immediately following the score. Air Force junior linebacker Alex Means then got his left hand up and blocked Navy’s 35-yard extra-point attempt. The score remained: Navy 34, Air Force, 28.
The Falcons’ offense, not having touched the ball in the past 40 minutes of actual time (aside from having taken a knee on the final play of regulation), then took the field — with a chance to win but needing a touchdown to stay alive. An immediate 16-yard completion gave the Falcons 1st-and-goal on the 9. After a pass interference penalty and two short runs, Air Force’s fine senior quarterback Tim Jefferson scored on 3rd-and-goal from inside the 1. The Falcons made the extra point. Final score: Air Force 35, Navy 34.
If Air Force (now 3-1) can beat Army on November 5th in Colorado Springs, or if Navy can beat Army in those teams’ annual season-ending matchup, the Commander in Chief’s Trophy will remain on the Rampart Range. But as for today’s game, hats off to Air Force for its hard-fought win, to Navy for its amazing comeback, and to both teams for their fine example of effort and resiliency.