By Leo Haggerty
Archived under Featured Articles – College & Army-Navy Game

I am pleased and humbled as well as honored that we have four veteran members of our Knights Sports Productions/It’s Sports Magazine family covering the 120th Army-Navy game this year.  The game will played in Philadelphia with the traditional 3 PM kickoff.

On the photo-journalist side, manning the still camera will be Kevin Nowak (far left on the featured image photo).  Shooting  video will be Tommy Sharpe who was on the field filming so is not in the picture.  Both have been to double-digit Army-Navy contests and gives us a wealth of experience behind the lens.

Continuing in the correspondence chairs for the second consecutive year will be the father-son duo of Darren (middle) and Ken (far right) Podolak.  “Vern” is the elder statesman of KSP/ISP starting his Army-Navy press duties in 2003.  Darren is doing his second tilt for us and we’re looking for him to be a vital cog in our operation for years to come.

Below are the game previews.  The first is for Navy that was prepared by Darren.  That’s followed by Ken’s synopsis of Army.  Enjoy.

120th Army Navy Football Game

The Semi-official College Football Bowl Season Kick Off Event

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

December 14, 2019 – Navy’s Best Chance – Momentum

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines momentum as “strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events.” Let’s take a look at which team will have momentum on their side this Saturday in the 120th meeting between the Navy Midshipmen and Army Black Knights.

What’s happened since 1890? The all-time series favors Navy at 60-52-7, but the unfortunate reality for the Midshipmen is that Army has won this illustrious contest each of the past three years. What happened before three years ago? Navy had Army’s number, specifically the longest win streak (14) in the 120-year rivalry. Either way, this particular match-up tends to favor the streaky.

What’s happened this season? Navy is 9-2 with their only losses coming against (16) Notre Dame and Memphis. Army is 5-7, losing a tough contest against Michigan, who was ranked in the Top Tan at the time.  More importantly, a gut-wrenching loss to the Air Force Academy.  Recent performance clearly favors the Midshipmen, but recent performance only goes so far when these two teams meet. Also, since Army lost to Air Force, the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy will either be Navy’s or shared among all three for the first time since 1993 – either way, it’s a win for Navy.

What’s happened in these games? A whole heck of a lot of running the football. Last year both teams combined for 142 yards through the air and over 300 on the ground, and this year shouldn’t be much different. Both teams are averaging around 100 yards per game passing and 300 yards per game rushing. Navy’s star quarterback, Malcolm Perry, is accounting for about half of the Midshipmen rushing yards alone, so expect the ball to be in his hands most of the day.

What does Navy need to do on the field to secure sole possession of the Commander in Chief’s Trophy? Capture all of that momentum. From play to play, series to series, quarter to quarter, game to game, year to year – use the momentum gained at each step along the way to push through the reigning champs.

Go Navy – Beat Army!!

120th Army Navy Football Game

The Semi-official College Football Bowl Season Kick Off Event

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

December 14, 2019 – Army’s Best Chance

Brig. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first order of business when asked by Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall to draft a response to the attack on Pearl Harbor immediately after Dec 7, 1941, was to write these words first on his recommended battle plan “Steps To Be Taken”.  Standard military response might have been to retreat and regroup at that time, but he recommended steps forward that were bold, decisive and risky and was widely quoted saying in his conclusion to that critical plan… “We dare not fail”.

This probably characterizes the mindset of both these teams for this game.  But, let’s look at some recent history.

Navy has a record of 9 wins and 2 losses compared to 5 wins and 7 losses for Army.

Navy is bowl eligible and Army is not.

Navy beat Air Force and Army did not.

Navy beat Tulane and Army did not.

Navy’s quarterback has over 1,000 yards passing and 19 completions for touchdowns this season and Army’s quarterback does not.

But this is the Army- Navy game…so forget all that recent history and get your head ready to make some new history.  C’mon Man, we are talking old school, medieval, barbaric, smash mouth, giddy up for a few yards and a cloud of dust, run the damn ball type of football…and both teams absolutely love that part of the game.  What the heck…didn’t the Army invent “trenches”.

Both quarterbacks are their teams’ leading ground gainer.  This means Army must use the run to control the clock and field.  First run right…then run left…then run up the middle again and again, and when the Navy Midshipmen are running downhill to stop the next run…use the play action quick pass/sprint out pass as the element of surprise to win the day.

In order to accomplish victory in this game Army must also recall their mind set from the Michigan game earlier in the season where they took the Top Ten ranked Michigan team into overtime with the Wolverines squeaking out a win.  Navy is not Michigan so channeling that Michigan game mindset is critical for Army to accomplish this mission.

Lastly, Army’s defensive unit must bring a “no tomorrow” mentality to stopping the Navy offense to win the battle of the clock and field position because Navy has averaged 39 points per game this season.  So, team, it’s let’s win by subtracting time of possession and leave the turnovers in the kitchen.

This is a game with three home teams…Army…Navy…and America, and no losers.  Put down the remote, grab your popcorn, and get ready for some good old pure football.

Go Army…Beat Navy!

Submitted by Ken Podolak on December 7, 2019.  Hope y’all catch the significance of the date!