Sunday, December 07, 2008

Navy Claims Sixth Consecutive Commander in Chief's Trophy

Philadelphia, PA – The 109th installment of the Army Navy game was played in front of a capacity crowd of over 69,000 at Lincoln Financial Field Saturday. Navy, behind an explosive running game and a swarming defense shut out the Black Knights 34-0.

This was the first shutout in an Army Navy game since Navy beat Army 28-0 in 1978.
President George W. Bush made an appearance prior to the game that awards a trophy in his name as the head of the nation’s armed forces.

Shun White got Navy on the board first and set the tone for the rest of the game. Army received the opening kickoff and couldn’t gain a first down. Navy worked to establish their running game early. Eric Kettani and Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada each carried on the first drive and Navy faced a 3rd and 2 from their own 35. On the next play, White took a pitch from Kaheaku-Enhada and raced down the sideline for 65 yards and the game’s first score.

"It settled us down. At the start of the game both sides are really tight," noted head coach Ken Niumatalolo. "There is so much that goes into this game. When you come as a Plebe, the first thing you learn is Go Navy, Beat Army. So you are so tight at the start of the game. That play let us settle down."

Two series later, the Midshipmen got on the board again, this time off the foot of kicker Matt Harmon. Navy started the drive on their own 15 yard line following an Army punt. Kaheaku-Enhada hit Tyree Barnes with a 34 yard pass and Kettani carried five times for 35 yards to put the Mids on the Army six yard line. Harmon split the uprights from 23 yards out to give Navy the 10-0 lead.

White capped off a 13 play, 80 yard drive midway through the second quarter with his second TD of the game. After running the ball 10 of their previous 11 plays, Kaheaku-Enhada hooked up with White for an 18 yard TD giving the Mids a 17-0 lead going into the half.

White, who finished the game with 168 total yards including 148 on the ground, ended the regular season with 1,021 yards. He was the first Midshipman to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season since Kyle Eckel in 2004.

White was pleased with the offense's execution. "That's a big thing that coach talks about in practice. If everyone executes their assignments, our offense cannot be stopped. Today was a good showing."

On their first drive of the second half, the Navy running machine came out hot. Five different ball carriers helped move the ball inside the Army 10 yard line. On the fourteenth play of the drive, Kettani pounded the ball in from the five yard line.

Kettani finished the game with 125 yards on 24 carries. It was the first time this season that Navy had two ball carriers with over 100 yards.

Ram Vela came up big for the Navy defense when he picked off a Chip Bowden pass late in the game and returned it 68 yards for a TD to set the final at 34-0.

Defensive coordinator Buddy Green was pleased with his defense's effort.

"I think it started up front. I thought Nate (Frazier) stepped up. It all starts up front and Nate got some movement and that gave us the chance to have a good day. A lot of guys played well"
"It's fun. It's all to these guys. I didn't play any snaps. It is a tribute to the guys who wear the uniforms. They mad plays, big plays."

Navy next faces a team from the ACC to be determined at the Eagle Bank Bowl in Washington, D.C. on December 20.

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