Recruiting: Commit Daniel Parrish’s 12-hour drive to Army-Navy

When Army commit Daniel Parrish’s flight was cancelled to Philadelphia Friday, the Prince Avenue Christian (Ga.) center embarked on a 12-hour road trip to the Army-Navy game.

Accompanied by his cousin, Christian Parrish, a junior wide receiver at Prince Avenue Christian and an Army recruit, Parrish took in Army’s 14-13 win over Navy Saturday, securing the academy’s first Commander in Chief’s trophy since 1996.

“It was so worth it,” Parrish said in a message. “What a game!”

Parrish met East Lincoln (N.C.) defensive end Ryan Matz at the game.

Matz, The Colony (Texas) quarterback Jemel Jones and Steelton-Highspire (Pa.) defensive line Tim Kater are among the Army commits, who will “sign” with the Black Knights during the early period (Dec. 20-22) next week.

Dacula (Ga.) quarterback-wide receiver Shayne Buckingham announced his commitment to Army on social media Saturday.

Collins Hill (Ga.) linebacker Jomier Augustine, Rockwall-Heath (Texas) quarterback Garrett Cody and Americus-Sumter (Ga.) quarterback-wide receiver A.J. Payne have announced they are no longer committed to Army and are opening up their recruiting.

2018 commits (76)

S Izzy Akojie, 6-2, 185, Wise HS, Upper Marlboro, Md.: First FBS offer – Army. Former Old Dominion commit.
RB Jonathan Andrews, 6-foot, 185, Dutchtown HS, Hampton, Ga.: Other offers – Navy. (COMMITTED, August 7)
OL Sam Backenstoe, 6-3, 263, Davidson HS, Hillard, Ohio: First offer – Army.
FB Cade Barnard, 6-2, 225, Seminole (Texas) HS: Other offers – Navy, Air Force, Colorado State, North Texas, Bowling Green, Nevada, UMass. (COMMITTED, Sept. 17)
WR-CB Adam Bazan, 5-10, 180, Ridge Point HS, Missouri City, Texas: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, August 3)
LB Hayden Bollinger, 6-1, 209, Lafayette HS, Wildwood, Mo.: Other offers – Syracuse. (COMMITTED, July 21)
DE Kwabena Bonsu, 6-4, 255, South Cobb HS, Austell, Ga.: Other offers – Air Force, Rutgers, Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State, Charlotte. (COMMITTED, Oct. 26)
DE Hunter Brabham, 6-3, 235, Hughes Springs (Texas) HS: (COMMITTED, July 16)
DT Ryan Bryce, 6-5, 285, St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, Pa.: Other offers – Rutgers, Virginia, Temple, Central Florida, Buffalo, UMass. (COMMITTED, May 30)
QB-WR-TE Shayne Buckingham, 6-4, 220, Dacula (Ga.) HS: (COMMITTED, Dec. 9)
RB Amon Byars, 5-8, 167, Terry HS, Rosenberg, Texas: Other offers – Navy. Hudl 40-yard dash time – 4.46 (COMMITTED, Nov. 11)
WR Cole Caterbone, 6-foot, 170, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: Other offers – Iowa, Rutgers, Cincinnati, East Carolina (COMMITTED, July 25)
DE-TE Nolan Cockrill, 6-3, 230, Westfield HS, Chantilly, Va.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, June 4)
K Matteo Cordray, 5-10, 155, Highland Park HS, Dallas, Texas.: (COMMITTED, July 23)
TE-LB Trevor Cosenke, 6-3, 212, John Champe HS, Aldie, Va.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 28)
S Zion Davis-Thompson, 6-2, 175, North Stafford HS, Stafford, Va.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 31)
LB Morgan Ernst, 6-foot, 195, Webb HS, Knoxville, Tenn.: (COMMITTED, May 14)
DE Damir Faison, 6-foot-2, 240, Vance HS, Charlotte, N.C.: Other offers – Maryland, Rutgers, Temple, East Carolina, Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Georgia State. Former Appalachian State commit. (COMMITTED, July 7)
OL Alex Faulkner, 6-4, 270, Mishawaka (Ind.) HS: First offer – Air Force. Second offer – Army. (COMMITTED, August 12)
S Xavier File, 6-1, 190, St. Augustine Prep, Richland, N.J.: (COMMITTED, Nov. 4)
CB Khalil Fleming, 5-11, 163, Northshore HS, Slidell, La.: Other offers – Air Force, May 22. (COMMITTED, April 19)
DE Chris Frey, 6-5, 225, Temescal Canyon HS, Lake Elsinore, Calif.: First offer – Army (COMMITTED, July 21)
LS Cale Garrison, 5-10, 215, The Woodlands (Texas) HS: Offered after attending Army prospect camp on June 4. (COMMITTED, June 5)
WR-CB Will Hankins, 6-2, 175, Munford (Tenn.) HS: (COMMITTED, June 26)
P Zach Harding, 6-6, 185, Christian HS, O’Fallon, Mo.: (COMMITTED, Nov. 2)
OL Blake Harris, 6-1, 299, Ben Lippon School, Columbia, S.C.: (COMMITTED, August 3).
QB Walter Harris, 6-1, 190, Northshore HS, Slidell, La.: Other offers – Navy, May 8. (COMMITTED, April 22)
P Will Hetzinger, 6-4, 200, St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Hammond, La.: (COMMITTED, Nov. 6)
LB Cameron Hoelscher, 6-2, 219, Springfield (Ohio) HS. Other offers: Air Force, Kentucky, Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Buffalo and Toledo. (COMMITTED, August 5)
DE Henry Janeway, 6-5, 215, Utica Eisenhower HS, Shelby Township, Mich.: First offer – Army. Other offers – Navy, Eastern Michigan, Ball State. Army visit – July 24 (COMMITTED, July 30)
LB Tim Johns, 6-3, 230, Greenwood (Ind.) HS: First FBS offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 12)
QB Jemel Jones, 5-10, 190, The Colony (Texas) HS: (COMMITTED, August 21)
DL Tim Kater, 6-3, 265, Steelton-Highspire HS, Steelton, Pa.: First commit of 2018 class. Brother of former Army tight end Kelvin White. Other offers – Delaware, Delaware State, Howard, Morgan State. (COMMITTED, April 12)
S Ja’ren Kenyatta, 6-1, 190, Urbana HS, Ijamsville, Md.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 26)
OL Drew Kraatz, 6-6, 240, Standish-Sterling HS, Standish, Mich.: (COMMITTED, April 27)
LS Brendan Knoespel, 6-foot, 210, Antonian Prep HS, San Antonio, Texas: Other offer – Air Force. (COMMITTED, May 25)
OL Nick Kotok, 6-4, 285, Moon Area HS, Moon, Pa.: (COMMITTED, June 28)
K Miller Kronk, 6-2, 195, London (Ohio) HS: First offer – Army. Army unofficial visit: May 24. (COMMITTED, June 1)
DL Kenese Leomiti, 6-4, 275, Calallen HS, Corpus Christi, Texas: (COMMITTED, August 2)
DE Ryan Matz, 6-3, 235, East Lincoln HS, Denver, N.C.: (COMMITTED, June 22)
LB Brandon Mays, 6-foot, 210, Viera (Fla.) HS: Other offers – Buffalo. (COMMITTED, July 21)
QB Michael Mbony, 5-11, 189, Sherwood HS, Sandy Spring, Md.: First offer – Army. Second offer – Air Force. Other offers – Navy. Mbony’s brother, James, is a senior center for Army’s rugby team. (COMMITTED, Sept. 18)
LB Rasean McCauley, 6-2, 220, Louisville Male HS, Louisville, Ky. (COMMITTED, Dec. 4)
LB Tim McClendon, 6-foot, 205, Carroll HS, Ozark, Ala.: Other offers – Air Force, Southern Mississippi. (COMMITTED, August 7)
FB Elliott McElwain, 6-foot, 215, Hewitt-Trussville HS, Trussville, Ala. (COMMITTED, July 4)
QB Steven Migut, 6-foot. 180, Unity HS, Tolono, Ill.: First offer – Army. Offensive MVP at Army July camp. (COMMITTED, August 12)
CB Isaiah Morris, 5-11, 170, Bolles School, Jacksonville, Fla.: (COMMITTED, August 25)|
DB Malkelm Morrison, 5-10, 185, Iona Prep, New Rochelle, N.Y.: (COMMITTED, Nov. 21)
DB Braheam Murphy, 5-10, 160, Harding University HS, Charlotte, N.C.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 4)
LB Troy Nachtigal, 6-foot, 205, Fort Atkinson (Wis.) HS: Brother, James, is Army junior linebacker. First offer – Army.
RB Keyshawn Palmer, 5-11, 200, Marbury (Ala.) HS: (COMMITTED, July 26)
C Daniel Parrish, 6-foot, 183, Prince Avenue Christian, Bogart, Ga.: Other offers – Navy, Middle Tennessee State (COMMITTED, Oct. 22)
OL Kyle Perry, 6-2, 305, Centennial HS, Burleson, Texas: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 23)
S T.J. Rakowsky, 5-11, 205, Palisades HS, Kintersville, Pa.
DL Hunter Richard, 6-3, 270, Edmond (Okla.) North HS: Other offers – Princeton, Abilene Christian. (COMMITTED, June 21)
CB Torey Richardson, 6-foot, 180, Tomball Memorial (Texas) HS: First offer – Army (COMMITTED, July 21)
DT Bartek Rybka, 6-2, 265, Paramus (N.J.) Catholic HS: Other offers – Rutgers. (COMMITTED, Oct. 27)
OL Harmon Saint Germain, 6-foot-5, 280, Westfield HS, Chantilly, Va.: (COMMITTED, July 6)
DE L.J. Salazar, 6-2, 220, Veterans Memorial HS, Corpus Christi, Texas: (COMMITTED, August 15).
LB Nate Smith, 6-3, 220, Bishop O’Connell HS, Arlington, Va.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, Oct. 2)
FB Landry Songer, 6-1, 205, Midlothian (Texas) HS: Army visit: late July (COMMITTED, August 31)
RB Jerreth Sterns, 5-8, 180, Waxahachie (Texas) HS: Other offers – Navy. (COMMITTED, Oct. 6)
K Cole Talley, 6-foot, 175, Rockwall (Texas) HS: (COMMITTED, August 27)
OL Jose Taveras, 6-4, 265, Union City (N.J.) HS
OL Jack Topping, 6-3, 261, Allen (Texas) HS: (COMMITTED, August 27)
LB Evan Townsend-Henry, 6-1, 225, King HS, Norwalk, Conn.: First offer – Army. Other offers – Navy, Air Force. (COMMITTED, Oct. 26)
LB Duncan Van Kouteren, 6-3, 205, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) HS
LB Jesse Walsh, 6-3, 230, Avon Old Farms, Avon, Conn.: (COMMITTED, July 22)
RB Brandon Walters, 6-foot, 170, Bolingbrook (Ill.) HS: First offer. Verbal after attending Buffalo game on Sept. 9
RB Danny Webb, 5-7, 160, Montclair (N.J.) HS: Other offers – Illinois, Central Michigan, Kent State.
RB-WR Travis West, 6-foot, 180, Woodrow Wilson HS, Dallas, Texas: (COMMITTED, July 22)
RB Tyrese White, 5-10, 200, Hamshire-Fannett HS, Hamshire, Texas: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 29)
OL Cody Winokur, 6-2, 260, Archbishop Spaudling HS, Severn, Md.: First offer – Army. (COMMITTED, July 22)
RB David Woodward, 5-11, 180, Mout Pisgah Christian School, Alpharetta, Ga.: (COMMITTED, July 30)
WR Cole Wright, 6-3, 185, Union County HS, Blairsville, Ga.: Dual-threat quarterback is being recruited to play receiver for Black Knights. (COMMITTED, Oct. 10)
DE Noah Yates, 6-foot-5, 215, Carbondale Area HS, Carbondale, Pa.: (COMMITTED, July 6)

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Click here for Facebook page, devoted solely to Army coverage.

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Quick thoughts: Navy

Jeff Monken addressed his team in a victorious Army locker room following a 14-13 win over Navy and told his players that the Commander in Chief’s trophy is the program’s standard in a video posted by Army athletics.

Players showered Monken with Gatorade and water.

“That’s an unbelievable team effort and it took every snap of that game right down to the last one,” Monken said in his locker-room speech. “What a great, great effort. I am so proud of this team. I’m so proud of the way you loved each other. You have committed to this together way back in August and what we talked about doing. The No. 1 goal was the CIC and we got it…and as a matter of fact, it ain’t ever leaving again.”

Army has now won three straight Commander in Chief’s games for the first time since 1995-96.

While a triumphant Army team celebrated the win on the field and in the locker room, the loss was devastating to Navy. After junior Bennett Moehring’s 48-yard field goal sailed wide left on the game’s final play, several Navy players remained on the field near the sight of the kick including long snapper Ronnie Querry who told himself how close the Midshipmen were to winning.

After Navy’s team had headed into its locker room and Army’s extended on-field celebration was coming to an end, a member of Navy’s staff remained in the end zone where Moehring’s kick fell short still in disbelief.

Moehring, to his credit, answered questions from the media outside of Navy’s locker room. He wasn’t one of the players selected to speak at the postgame press conference but still made himself available for comment. A classy move.

Another classy move was Monken wishing Jarren Jasper, the son of Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper, well during the early stages of his interview with Allie LaForce of CBS. Jarren Jasper, 14, is awaiting a heart transplant. Monken was a graduate assistant at Hawaii in 1990 when Jasper was quarterback and the two have become close friends since coaching together at Georgia Southern and Navy (2002-07). He pointed to the hear sticker with the letters “JJ” and said, “Jarren, we love you. We are thinking of you. I know it (the game) didn’t go your way pal, but we are thinking about you too. We love you and hope you get healthy.”

Remember when John Voit was one of the last players to leave practice his freshman year. Voit would spend an extra five to 10 minutes on his own hitting a sled or working on individual drills. The senior defensive end’s determination was spotlight when he never quit as speedy Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry broke away from the pack in the third quarter. Voit tracked Perry down on a good 50-yard sprint which led the sophomore falling down at Army’s 11. Can argue that was the play of the game for Army because the defense held Navy to field goal extending the Midshipmen’s lead to six points and not double digits. Here’s my story on Voit’s play.

As Army was waiting for the Commander in Chief’s trophy ceremony, fullback coach Mike Viti joked with Dan McCarthy, the team’s director of football operations, about handing in his expense report on Wednesday. McCarthy laughed and said, “We are going to to White House.”

Many former Army players rushed the field after the victory. Saw DeJoun Lee, a running back who redshirted at Delaware this season, find his former classmates including Jaylon McClinton and celebrate.

How many times did Army run on tackle Brett Toth’s side during its game-winning, fourth quarter drive. Counted at least six times that quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw followed Toth. Kell Walker converted a 4th-and-1 from Navy’s 5, running behind Toth on Army’s opening touchdown drive.

Army continued to excel with ball security. The Black Knights carried the ball 49 times without a fumble in slick, wintry conditions. Army has lost just four fumbles on 698 carries this season, an incredible stat.

Army played turnover-free football in an Army-Navy game for the first time since 2005.

The Black Knights’ defense held Navy to 2-of-11 on third down and 0-for-5 in the second half.

A stat from John Chuhran of Sons of the American Legion radio: Four of the 118 Army-Navy have been decided by one point. Army has won all four including Saturday.

A stat from Bill Wagner of Capital Gazettte of Annapolis, Navy’s 13 points were its lowest since it scored 10 against Temple in the 2016 American Athletic Conference championship game.

There was no rest for Army assistant coaches following the monumental win. Monken’s staff headed on the road for recruiting. Sean Saturnio tweeted he was off to California. While, Mitch Ware made a few stops in Georgia.

VIDEO: Final play/kick of Army-Navy game and the celebration that followed

VIDEO: On-field celebration after second straight win over Navy, securing the Commander in Chief’s trophy for first time since 1996.

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Click here for Facebook page, devoted solely to Army coverage.

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KnightCap: Navy

The Army-Navy game provided an euphoric Army celebration for the second straight year.

Coach Jeff Monken was hoisted into the air by his players and cadets after guiding Army to a 14-13 win over Navy and securing the academy’s first Commander in Chief’s trophy title since 1996.

The game was once again decided on a fourth-quarter touchdown by senior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, who was named the game’s most valuable player.

John Voit and the Army defense make a stand forcing a 48-yard field goal that was missed by Bennett Moehring as time expired.

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Prediction time: Army-Navy

Army opened as a 3.5-point underdog against Navy Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The line hasn’t moved much – it’s at 3 – despite Army’s 8-3 record and Navy’s late-season slide of five losses in its last six games. Guessing Vegas is basing the line of the rivalry’s history. Army broke Navy’s 14-game winning streak with a 21-17 win late December.

This time, the winner of this game will claim the Commander in Chief’s trophy, a prize that Army hasn’t earned since 1996.

The game features the nation’s top rushing teams. Army, ranked No. 1 in the nation, features record-setting quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, a quartet of fullbacks led by Darnell Woolfolk and Andy Davidson and game-breaking slotback Kell Walker. Navy, No. 2 in the country, could play junior Zach Abey, a rugged-inside runner, or speedy sophomore Malcolm Perry, who doubles as a slotback, at quarterback.

One of key statistics when breaking down the matchup is turnover margin – Army is + 4, Navy is – 6.

Snow is predicted for Saturday so ball security will be crucial in determining the winner.

Sal Interdonato (Times Herald-Record Army football beat writer): Army 28, Navy 24. Army has the advantage at quarterback with Bradshaw, who led the Black Knights on an 80-yard game-winning,  fourth-quarter drive last December. If Army’s defense can slow or contain Perry, the Black Knights should celebrate their second straight win over Navy.

Predictions from around the college football universe
Dennis Dodd (CBS Sports): Army
Tom Fornelli (CBS Sports): Army +3
Pete Fiutak (College Football News): Army 21, Navy 17
Kevin McGuire (Athlon Sports): Navy 26, Army 21

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Tuesday Takeaways (Army-Navy week)

The Tuesday before the Army-Navy game started with news that Jeff Monken was one of eight finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.

Monken kidded at his weekly press conference that the votes by the Football Writers Association of America were miscounted. The four-year Army coach’s competition is Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley; Scott Frost (former Central Florida coach), Florida Atlantic’s Lane Kiffin,  Alabama-Birmingham’s Bill Clark and Fresno State’s Jeff Tedford

Monken has led Army to back-to-back eight-win seasons, the most total victories over a two-year span since 1984 (8-3-1) and 1985 (9-3). Read Monken’s thoughts on honor here.

During the Army-Navy media luncheon last week, Monken was asked where the Commander in Chief’s trophy would go if the Black Knights were able to defeat the Midshipmen Saturday. Monken mentioned the trophy would be put in Washington Hall, West Point’s mess hall. There’s a case waiting with a photo of the CIC trophy.

“When Navy’s had it, it’s been in Bancroft Hall,” said Monken, a former Navy assistant. “There’s some steps that go up and it says “Don’t Give Up The Ship” way in the back and just to the right, there’s a trophy case there and that’s where it’s housed and during recruiting it gets brought over some recruits can get pictures taken with it but it’s there for all of the Brigade of Midshipmen just as it should be displayed at this academy, if we win it, I hope we will, when that day comes we’ll display where the Corps of Cadets can enjoy it. It’s there trophy.”

Monken on what makes the Army-Navy game, “so much fun”: “When the ball gets snapped, it’s just a fist fight for five or six seconds. They blew the whistle and then we come back and do it again and do it all afternoon. The competitive spirit of every guy out there no matter what color jersey he is wearing, is pretty incredible.”

Senior safety Rhyan England on what defeating Navy and winning the Commander in Chief’s trophy would mean: “It’s huge for our senior class but it’s also huge for this program and every class below us. Obviously, you want to leave a legacy. We know that it doesn’t dictate this team but at the same time it really will show people what this team was about and leadership that we had.”

Monken didn’t have any input on Army’s specialized “Climb to Glory” game jersey, inspired by the 10th Mountain Division but said, “I really think they are great uniforms. I know our kids are excited about wearing them. The players get excited when there’s an alternate uniform. That kind of a big deal in today’s college football. What’s fantastic to me is the way Nike, our research team, Steph Menio, Ty Seidule from our history department. They just did a great job and to be able to find a way to build a uniform that really honors a particular unit is pretty special. That to me is what is great about the uniforms. Not the way they look. I think they look great. It’s what they represent.”

Monken said there was no word if sophomore safety Jaylon McClinton will be able to play Saturday. McClinton has missed the last three games due to an academy matter.

VIDEO: Sophomore slotback Kell Walker provides an update on his ankle injury suffered at North Texas on Nov. 18 and talks about three weeks of preparation and the “Black Flag” mentality needed to beat Navy.

VIDEO: Senior wide receiver Jeff Ejekam on the anticipation for the Army-Navy game with only a few practices left

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Click here for Facebook page, devoted solely to Army coverage.

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Army-Navy Game Jerseys: 10th Mountain Division

The wait is over.

One week after Navy revealed its jersey for Saturday’s Army-Navy game, Army released its special-edition Nike uniform.

The Black Knights’ uniform will honor the 10th Mountain Division, which originated during the World War II and engaged in winter warfare in the mountainous of Italy.

The “Climb to Glory” uniforms include white jerseys with gold numerals and letters and four different patches with the Mountain Division (85th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment and 126th Mountain Engineer Battalion) and helmets with a crossed-skis decal on the front.

Army wore uniforms honoring the 82nd Airborne in last year’s Army-Navy game.

The Midshipmen will wear “Blue Angels” uniforms in tribute to the Navy’s flight team.

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Started a Facebook page, solely for Army coverage. Here’s the link.

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Armed Forces Bowl opponent: San Diego State

Jeff Monken has watched limited game film on San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny.

Army’s coach has seen enough of the nation’s leading rusher to know that there will be long nights when preparing to play 10-win San Diego State team, which ranked as high as 18th this season, and Penny in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 23 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We saw a little bit of him when we were preparing for Air Force (which played San Diego State,” Monken said. “We haven’t had any other common opponents where we had a chance to really watch him which is probably a good thing. I’ll lose enough sleep when we get prepared for him next week. I don’t want to be losing any right now on account of him.”

College football’s Selection Sunday brought a bit of surprise in Army’s opponent for the Armed Forces Bowl. Most bowl projections had Army playing Texas-San Antonio (6-5) of Conference USA.

San Diego State (10-2) opened the season with six straight wins and was ranked as high as 18th in the Coaches Poll and 19th in the Associated Press poll. The Aztecs dropped back-to-back games to Boise State (31-14) and Fresno State (27-3) before finishing the regular season with four straight wins.

“We are extremely excited to announce that the United States Military Academy and San Diego State University will square off at Amon G. Carter Stadium this year,” Armed Forces Bowl executive director Brant Ringler said. “We are honored to host Army West Point for the second time (first in 2010) and to have a service academy playing in the game for the ninth time in the past 11 years. We also are very pleased to be able to bring in a strong San Diego State program that has enjoyed so much success this year and over the past decade.”

Penny poses one of the toughest challenge for Army’s defense this season. The senior has rushed for 2,027 yards and 19 touchdowns, caught 18 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.

The Armed Forces Bowl is Army’s third straight postseason game in the state of Texas. Army defeated SMU 16-14 in the 2010 Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas. The Black Knights outlasted North Texas 38-31 in the 2016 Heart of Dallas Bowl.

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Started a Facebook page, solely for Army coverage. Here’s the link.

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Army-Navy Media Day quotes: Jeff Monken, Ahmad Bradshaw, John Voit

Here are some quotes from Army coach Jeff Monken and captains Ahmad Bradshaw and John Voit from Army-Navy Media Day in Philadelphia earlier today as transcribed by Capital Gazette Navy beat writer Bill Wagner.

Jeff Monken

“Though the 2016 team didn’t have anything to do with those 14 years, it wasn’t their responsibility. You can’t help but feel the weight of those 14 games on you, that we’ve got to break this streak.”

“That was definitely a big part of our confidence going into this season. Guys feeling like we’ve got a program now, that we believe we can win.”

“It was a pain in the rear end to have to apologize for a streak that most of these coaches and players had nothing to do with.”

“Each year’s team is responsible for their game. This year’s Army team is responsible for 2017.”

“Each team has got to take control of what they can in a particular year.”

“I don’t know how you don’t favor a Kenny Niumatalolo team. This is Kenny’s 10th game and he’s won eight of them. Kenny has a veteran staff that has been with him a long time and a confident football team that plays a tough, disciplined brand of football. It’s going to be very hard to beat Navy.”

“For the rivalry itself, we needed to win. It’s not much of a rivalry if one side wins all the time.”

“It boosted the confidence of a our whole program. As it happens over and over again, there becomes this opinion that your program is inferior, that you can’t beat your rival.”

“Beating Navy last year gives our players confidence that we are good enough to win this game if we execute our fundamentals and assignments. So it was important from a confidence-standpoint more than anything.”

“What we did last year is not going to have anything to do with what happens two Saturdays from now. We’ll have to play great football and really execute in order to have a chance to win.”

Ahmad Bradshaw

“Yes sir, I guess I am glad to not have to answer that question anymore. Obviously, when you lose year after year that can wear on you. Finally getting over that hump and beating Navy gives us the confidence to know that we can do it. It’s not a hope thing anymore because now we know we can get it done.”

John Voit

“After the (last year’s) game was absolutely unreal. Being able to accomplish that goal and celebrate with your teammates meant everything. Being on the other side is not a good feeling. Knowing the difference between how it feels to win and lose this game is definitely motivation.”

“We have two classes on this team that have lost to Navy and know what the feeling is like.”

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Started a Facebook page, solely for Army coverage. Here’s the link.

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Nov. 27 practice blog

Brent Davis and Army’s offense continued preparations for their biggest game of the season during practice Monday.

News broke out of Statesboro, Ga. earlier in the day that Georgia Southern had promoted Chad Lunsford from interim to head coach.

Davis, who coached 13 seasons at Georgia Southern including four (2010-13) as Jeff Monken’s offensive coordinator, was reportedly a candidate for the opening. Monken said Davis, Army’s offensive coordinator since 2014, wasn’t interviewed for the position.

“That’s good for us,” Monken said of the news. “I’m disappointed for Brent because I think that would have been a good opportunity for him. I think he would do a terrific job. Hopefully, someday, he’s going to get an opportunity to do that if he wants to. I’m thrilled that we are not going to lose him because he’s a huge part of our success. Our kids have so much faith in him. Our coaches do. I do. He’s just done a tremendous job building this offense. He’s done his best job this year.”

Monken said he’s “100 percent certain” that sophomore slotback Kell Walker, who injured his ankle in Army’s last game at North Texas on Nov. 18,  will play against Navy on Dec. 9 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

“He’s doing good,” Monken said of Walker. “He moved around a little bit out here today and he looked good.”

Walker is third on the team in rushing (553 yards) and touchdowns (6). He rushed for a team-high 94 yards on 16 carries in his first Army-Navy game, a 21-17 Army win last December.

Whether Walker returns kicks is still to be determined.

“We certainly want to be able to play him on offense,” Monken said. “That’s the priority. Hopefully, he’ll be able to do it all.”

Navy revealed its Blue Angels-inspired uniforms for Army-Navy Monday. Army fans will have to wait to see the Black Knights game uniforms. Monken said the reveal would be next week.

Who’s No. 1 in the country? Monken said he was one of 21 coaches to vote Wisconsin the nation’s top team in the latest Coaches Poll. “They are 12-0,” Monken said. “How do you argue that?”

Monday was the first of five straight practices for Army this week. Senior defensive end and co-captain John Voit said, “obviously, the preparation is great. But, I was talking to Bryce (Holland, Army’s center) and I said, ‘I wish it was game week. You just want to go down there and play. You want that game to come up so bad. The two, three weeks is good preparation. You know you need it.”

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Started a Facebook page, solely for Army coverage. Here’s the link.


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November 21 practice blog

Army practices generally finish with coach Jeff Monken speaking with the players before they break down for quick meetings with their position groups.

On Tuesday, players lined up for sprints following a brief talk from Monken as the Black Knights practiced following a 52-49 loss at North Texas Saturday.

Junior defensive lineman Wunmi Oyetuga said Army’s defense, which gave up a season-high in points to North Texas, “let the game get into our head a little bit.”

“The atmosphere, we let it get to us,” Oyetuga said. “We got a little riled up. Usually, we are calm and we play very fundamentally sound and we let that edge chip away a little bit.”

Senior safety Rhyan England and senior linebacker Alex Aukerman discuss the defense’s issues at North Texas in a story that I wrote here.

Sophomore wide receiver Kjetil Cline was wearing a Ranger jersey for his contribution in the North Texas game. Cline gained 23 on a reverse, the first carry by an Army wide receiver this season, in the fourth quarter.

Asked Monken if he sent a lot of tape into Conference USA after the way the North Texas game was called, “a pretty good share. Some weeks, there’s more than others. This week, probably more than there’s even been. That’s the way it is. We can’t control that. What we can control is our attitude and our effort. We got to control the things that we are capable of controlling and we didn’t do that. Had we just done that, then, the other things would matter. You got to be able to overcome the things you can’t control. You control your opponent, the officials, the fans or the weather. There’s a lot of variables that come into the game. It’s got nothing to do with what we can do. We can’t change those things. What we can do is play with great effort and play with great fundamentals and play our assignments. Those are the things we can control. Play with great energy. Not get frustrated when things don’t go our way, which we allowed to happen on Saturday, which is remorseful to see that happen because we can control that.”

Monken explained what happened on North Texas being allowed a second punt during a possession in the first quarter. “Apparently, the whistle for ready hadn’t blown. They were trying to hurry up and snap the ball before they felt we were going to bring pressure. There was a whistle blown by someone. I don’t know who. Some people heard it. Some people didn’t. Some of the team stopped and some of the team didn’t on both sides. After rehashing, I guess they decided we have to replay the down. We didn’t need to drop the ball (Mike Reynolds’ fumble on the second punt). It’s one of those things that you can’t control. What you can control is catching the ball.”

Did Monken think Kenneth Brinson’s sack of Mason Fine should have been a safety in the third quarter? “I thought his forward progress was stopped. It’s forward progress at that point. Wherever the ball is when his forward progress is stopped, I thought it was stopped (beyond) the goal line. I didn’t think it was a safety.”

Army will practice Wednesday before players head home for Thanksgiving break.

Here are some of Monken’s post-practice comments:

“There was energy at the end (of practice) when we had to run sprints but there wasn’t much high energy before that. I didn’t think it was a very good practice. Hopefully, tomorrow, it will be better.”

“We had some big plays (against North Texas) and had a good productive day running the ball but in the end, it wasn’t enough. They scored 52 and we needed to score more than that.”

“Defensively, we had far, far too many mistakes. The kicking game had mistakes, a lot of undisciplined errors and that’s nobody’s fault but mine. That’s the greatest remorse to see those undisciplined errors that we had. Penalties, missed assignments, poor fundamentals. We are going to have to play a lot better if we are going to beat Navy (on Dec. 9).”

“There’s not a thing (that Army can take from last year’s win over Navy to transfer to this year). It’s two different team. This team is going to have to play well enough to beat Navy and that’s the challenge. We don’t get any points from last year. It’s going to take our very best effort to have a chance to win this game.”

How does Monken get his players prepared for Navy after North Texas loss? “Try to get them to do their job. That’s just the fact. They had a chance to look at it (the North Texas) game. Anybody that looks at it we didn’t do our job. We didn’t tackle well. We didn’t play our assignment like we should have. We made some critical errors in some situations where we really, really helped them a lot. Give North Texas credit. They made a bunch of plays and played a good game but we did quite a few things to help them too. That’s our own fault. You can’t have self-inflected wounds. It’s eliminating mistakes. We have to do that for sure.”

On the offense’s production (534 rushing yards, 49 points against North Texas): “We scored enough points but if wasn’t even to win. It’s team game. North Texas scored 52 so we needed to find a way to score 53. Earlier in the year, we lost to Tulane and they scored 21. We needed to score 22. If we held North Texas to 21, then, we would have won the game Saturday night. Had we scored 49 against Tulane, we would have won that game. It’s team game and the whole team had to play together each time we got out there and we didn’t do that on Saturday.”

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Started a Facebook page, solely for Army coverage. Here’s the link.


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    Sal Interdonato

    Award-winning writer Sal Interdonato has been on the Army football beat since 2007. He'll take you inside the huddle and into the lives of the Black Knights. Read Full
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