Score another one for Navy. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo and captains Matt Aiken and Cody Peterson arrived a good hour before Army coach Rich Ellerson and captains Thomas Holloway, Momo Kime and Jarrett Mackey for media day, which was scheduled for a 10 a.m. start at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Army showed up shortly after 11 a.m. The captains practiced Wednesday morning before leaving for the press luncheon.
Army senior rover and defensive captain Thomas Holloway missed the team’s trip to Hawaii last week due to an infection in his elbow.
Holloway spent five days in Keller Army Community Hospital getting treatment for the infection. He was released on Friday. Holloway said he will play against Navy next Saturday.
Who will be Army’s quarterback against Navy? Coach Rich Ellerson said junior Angel Santiago and sophomore A.J. Schurr are splitting snaps in practice. “We’re going to see where we are coming out of this week,” Ellerson said. “It’s a work-in progress.” Schurr relieved Santiago, who has started all 11 games, in the second half last week at Hawaii and scored four rushing touchdowns.
Army fifth-year senior linebacker Jarrett Mackey has told his younger teammates, “If you don’t send me out with a win (over Navy), we will be fighting in the locker room after the game.” Mackey, a co-captain said, “The guys are ready. They are prepared.”
Mackey said Army’s 11-game losing streak to Navy is, ” just motivation. We will mention it every now and then. That’s the sad part that we just let Navy just run away with the series. It’s been lopsided lately. It just adds fuel to the fire as individuals to go out there and try to get the job done and be perfect.”
Army coach Rich Ellerson on beating Navy (0-4) during his coaching tenure at West Point: “I got that. I read the roof. I read the front of everybody’s house.”
Mackey said the team’s 3-8 record isn’t the coaching staff’s fault. The offensive or defensive schemes aren’t to blame either, Mackey said. “We can put up points and we can stop people,” Mackey said. “But we need to do consecutively. We need to do it repeatedly. Not just one out of the three drives. The guys know that. It adds motivation for me as a captain to get them to play better and find out what makes mistakes. We are not getting dominated. Guys are just making mental errors. It’s frustrating. I can feel what coach (Ellerson) is going through some times.”
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo says he goes to Hawaii every summer, “to recharge my batteries” for the next season. “Just because I know every game is going to be one play here or there or three plays here and there could determine whether you win or loss…All of our games are going to be a tough game so hopefully you do enough things to win.” Niumatalolo said it’s hard for him to get mad at his players when they lose because, “they are trying their best and that’s what it’s like at the service academies and I don’t know if it’s ever going to change. We are never going to get the 5, the 4, the 3-star recruit. Our guys are probably more 2-star guys that everyone overlooked.
Army tackle Momo Kime is looking to become the second member of his family to beat Navy in their senior year. Kime’s father, Bill, and the 1984 Army team defeated Navy 28-11 to clinch the Commander in Chief’s trophy at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Bill Kime already has some advice for his son. “Don’t let my emotions get too high,” Momo Kime said. “It’s Army-Navy. It’s my last game, possibly ever. Don’t think about the game too much beforehand. When you are playing the game, don’t look at the scoreboard, thinking you have to do this or that, just stay in the moment.”