Captains Woolfolk & Holland on leading Black Knights, sustaining winning at West Point

Darnell Woolfolk captained one of New York’s most storied high school football programs as a Maine-Endwell senior but the fullback didn’t think much of being named one of Army’s leaders when he first arrived at West Point.

Woolfolk received limited action his freshman season and was focused on making more of an impact. He’s made his presence known the last two seasons, rushing for 23 touchdowns as the Black Knights have won 18 of its last 26 games.

Teammates noticed Woolfolk’s continued drive and dedication, selecting him one of three captains for the 2018 season joining linebacker Cole Christiansen and center Bryce Holland.

“It’s a great honor being voted by everybody on the team,” Woolfolk said. “It just shows how hard work pays off in and as a senior to be that they trust me to lead this team means a lot.

“When I first got here I was at the bottom of the food chain I just want to play as hard as I could to get recognized by the coaches and to get playing time. So, I never really thought much about being named captain. I was just focused on working hard to make the team better honestly.”

Woolfolk said toughness will once again be Army’s key to success in 2018.

“I think coach Monken really preaches that and that works for us being the tougher team,” Woolfolk said. “Even if we are down, the mentality is we’re not going to quit. A lot of teams sometimes when they get up, they take their foot off the gas. If we are in the lead, we don’t take our feet off the gas. That mentality of being the tougher team and not quitting no matter what the circumstances are is key in our first game and throughout the season.”

Holland said the biggest thing that ran through his mind when Monken revealed the team vote at the end of the Black-Gold Game was, “now, it’s time to step up and lead the team and help us move forward to all the goals for the next season.’

“Last year was a great year but that’s behind us and now now it’s time to work toward the 2018 team’s goals and go forward from there,” Holland said.

Holland’s vocal presence was heard this spring as the lone returning starter on Army’s offensive line.

“It’s always been my personality and I always been the guy who has a lot of high-energy,” said Holland, a December graduate who will play in his fifth year after missing his sophomore season due to injury. “I try to bring that to practice every day. I’ve always been a vocal guy so for me it was a natural thing. With losing four guys that started on our offensive line, I was being more of that vocal leader especially on the offensive line and making sure energy levels are in check and making sure were holding each other accountable.”

Holland said the expectation level and standards aren’t going to change.

“It’s all about holding every person that is a part of the organization accountable for their actions,” Holland said. “That applies to the football field, that applies to classroom and that applies to our military training as well. That’s something our team is extremely focused on and we make sure that we hold everyone accountable regardless of rank on the team.

“It’s a new team. It’s a new season. Everyone is extremely happy about what we’ve been able to do these last two years but those are different teams. Now, we have to go out there and prove our success with a new group of guys and a new dynamic. It’s all about building on those past victories but also about creating a new success for this team.”

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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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