Army edges Navy for third straight win in series
PHILADELPHIA — Army coach Jeff Monken hopped on top of a wall and pumped his fist toward stoked cadets set to belt out the alma mater. Monken brought the party to locker room and waved an “Army Football” flag as the Black Knights bounced around him.
Army ditched its mundane routines and cut loose like a bunch of rowdy civilians. And why not? The setting was right after Army beat Navy for the third straight game, this time in front of a packed house and the president.
“I don’t ever want our guys to stop celebrating,” Monken said. “I promise you, I’ll be celebrating every year if we win this thing because I know how hard it is.”
Monken resuscitated the Black Knights and turned a program that suffered annual losses to the Midshipmen into a bowl-bound team that can keep the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy back at West Point.
The No. 22 Black Knights recovered two fumbles in the fourth quarter, Kelvin Hopkins Jr. had two rushing touchdowns and Army beat Navy, 17-10, on Saturday to win its third straight game in the series.
President Donald Trump attended the 119th game between the rivals and flipped the coin before spending a half on each side in a show of impartiality. No matter his view, Army (10-2) always had the edge.
Army retained the CIC Trophy — awarded to the team with the best record in games among the three service academies — after winning it for the first time in 22 years last season and snuffed a late Navy (3-10) rally to retain possession of the patriotic prize
With Navy down 10-7, quarterback Zach Abey lost a fumble on fourth-and-12 deep in its own territory. Hopkins would score on a 1-yard run to make it 17-7 and give Army the cushion it needed to win in front of 66,729 fans at Lincoln Financial Field.
Army has regained its grip in a series that had gotten out of hand. Navy had a series-best 14-game winning streak from 2002-2015 and leads the series 60-52-7.
Kell Walker ran 51 yards to the 10 on the fourth play from scrimmage and Hopkins dashed in for the TD on the next play for a 7-0 lead.
Army safety Jaylon McClinton had an interception in the first half. Army also dropped a key third-down pass that led to John Abercrombie’s missed 33-yard field goal in the second quarter. Abercrombie rebounded to kick a 33-yarder in the third for a 10-0 lead.
Malcom Perry’s 43-yard run to the 5 set up Garret Lewis’ 1-yard rushing TD with 7:10 left in the game that pulled Navy to 10-7.