Sprint Football Defeats Army, 28-6, to Reclaim the Star, CSFL Title
Nov. 4, 2011
WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Navy sprint football team defeated Army, 28-6, to win the Star and claim its 35th Collegiate Sprint Football League title on Friday night at West Point's Shea Stadium. With the win, Navy finished the season perfect at 7-0, posting the 27th undefeated season in program history.
"Last year we felt like we did the seniors a disservice by not winning the title," said Navy head coach Maj. Mitch Maury, USMC. "We made it a point before the season started that we were going to do everything we could to win the championship.
"We had a good meeting yesterday and the seniors got to talk and they all showed up ready to play today. What a great way for that class to go out."
Sophomore David Williams had a career night as he established a pair of Navy single-game rushing records in yards, with 291, and carries, with 39. Williams' record-setting 291 yards were more than Army (5-2) had allowed to any team on the ground this season, as he accounted for all but 31 of Mids' total rushing yards.
His phenomenal performance gave him a total of 1,152 yards this year as he is now the new Navy single-season leader in rushing yards. His total of 164 carries is one short of the school record for rushing attempts in a season.
"He was a workhorse tonight and put the team on his back," said Maury. "We built the game plan around him. He's such a talent and we knew he would be ready to go.
"He's got two more years ahead of him and he'll get even better."
Not to be outdone by the offense on Friday night was the Navy defense as it picked the perfect time for its most dominating performance of the season in holding Army to a season-low six points. Army entered Friday's contest averaging 48.2 points per game.
"Our defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan, has done a great job all season and his game plan tonight really shut them down," said Maury. "Army's offense has been great all season, and tonight, Mike really put together a great game plan and the guys stepped up and executed."
Like they have done all season, the Midshipmen got going early and scored on their first possession. After holding Army on its first drive, the Mids started at their own 20-yard line and went 80 yards in 12 plays to score the first points of the game. Williams accounted for 55 yards on the scoring drive before senior Marty Meehan plunged into the end zone from one-yard out as Navy took a 7-0 lead.
The Black Knights scored what proved to be their only points of the game on the first play of the second quarter as quarterback Justin Sustatia rushed into the end zone from the 9-yard line.
However, the extra point attempt was blocked by the Mids as they retained the lead, 7-6.
With just over 11 minutes to play in the first half, Navy started a drive at the Army 49-yard line and with the help of two, critical third-down conversions, put a nine-play scoring drive together to extend its lead.
The first key conversion came on a third-and-19 play from the Army 33-yard line when Navy quarterback Erik Erlandson connected with receiver Jordan Foley, who made a nice over-the-shoulder catch along the sideline for 20 yards to move the chains.
Three plays later, facing a third-and-7 from the Army 10-yard line, Williams found a hole and rushed for eight yards to give the Mids first-and-goal.
Meehan scored his second touchdown of the day two plays later to help increase the Mids' lead to 14-6.
Navy wasted little time getting back to work in the second half as the Mids' offense took the opening kickoff and went 60 yards in seven plays in just over three minutes to take a 21-6 lead.
After a combination of Williams and fullback D.J. Hooper helped the Mids get down to the Army 28-yard line, Erlandson converted on another third-down play as he connected with Drew Presnell in the end zone to boost the Navy lead.
"Having Erik back today helped out a lot," said Maury. "He was great."
Erlandson, who missed the last three games due to an injury, went 11-of-20 for 156 yards with two TDs and one interception on Friday night.
With the Navy defense continuing to smother the Black Knights' potent offense, the Mids were able to increase their lead with less than 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
Starting at the 10-yard line, Williams rushed for 77 yards on the drive to help the Mids get into the red zone where Erlandson then threw his second TD toss of the game. With the ball at the Army 11-yard line, Erlandson found Jesse Holian in the back of the end zone and Adrian Montecinos tacked on the extra point to close out the scoring.
Linebacker Matt Piotrowicz led the Navy defense with a season-high 15 tackles. Defensive back Brendan West was active in the secondary all night, finishing with five tackles and three pass break-ups. Fellow defensive back Samuel Gedeon had two break-ups and an interception.
Navy finished the season with 1740 rushing yards - 51 yards shy of the single-season record, set in 1997.
Matt Sobecki was Navy's previous record holder for rushing yards in a season (984) and rushing attempts in a game (34)...Chris Butler previously held the school's single-game rushing record with 263 yards against Princeton on Oct. 11, 1980.
The visiting team has now won the last three non-neutral site matchups in the Army-Navy series.
Navy leads the all-time series with Army, 40-31-1, and has won 13 of the last 14 meetings.
With Navy outgaining Army, 322-98, on the ground, the team with the most rushing yards has now won nine of the last 11 meetings between the teams.
The class of 2012 tied the program record for wins by a class with 26.
Of Navy's 35 CSFL titles, 28 have been outright.