Saturday, August 29, 2009

Battle in the Blizzard

West Point, NY (AP) - The rivalry between Army and Air Force is only natural. Both service academies take highly motivated young men and women and turn them into warriors. By definition warriors are competitive. Since no one would approve of the Air Force and Army warring on one another, the competition is taken out on the football field. Bragging rights, and the Commander-in-Chief trophy are the prizes of this yearly game. Heading into this year, Air Force is up ten games in the rivalry all time.

Before the game, Coach Mason was asked if he understood the importance of the rivalry. "Hell, you don't have to been a pure genius to understand that fighters love to win. This and Navy are the Michigan to their Ohio State. Coming from Ohio State, I understand what it means to hate a rival. One of my goals here is to beat the socks off the other service academies, show them that you CAN win here. People think these academies are some kind of football relic. Hell, my wife told me that Army would never be as successful again as they were back in the old days. We'll show them."

With that fire and gusto, the Black Knights went out and battled the Falcons in a driving snow storm. The game was a nailbiter, but Army took the ball into the endzone in the fourth to win 31-28. Coach Shaun Mason was carried off the field with the Commander-in-Chief trophy held aloft. After the game, Coach Mason took a call from President Obama congratulating him. Mason took the opportunity to voice his opinion on health care and Obama socialist leanings. Needless to say, don't look for a congratulatory call for the next 3 years, perhaps longer is the President is reelected in 2012.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Battle of the Knights

West Pointe, NY (AP) - This week the Army Black Knights played host to the Scarlett Knights of Rutgers. Like a jousting match of yonderyear, this game went back and forth until the Black Knights defeated the Scarlett Knights 17-14. Early in the game both offenses looked lackluster, with both teams missing field goals in the opening stanza. Rutgers would have a fumble return for a touchdown called back due to a challenged instant replay. With less than three minutes to go in the first half, Rutgers broke the scoring drought with a touchdown from the goal line. Not to be discouraged, Army went down the field and scored on a 30 yard field goal to end the half.

The second half was little better offensively for either team. Army took the lead 10-7 midway through the third quarter. Looking to put Rutgers away, Army coach Shaun Mason began to run the clock with each possession, a move that would later almost come back to haunt him. After holding Rutgers to seven points in the first three quarters, Army would give up a long drive to Rutgers, capped off with a 3 yard touchdown pass from Natale to Crogran. With two minutes left in the game, Army got the ball back. Army has been a very poor passing team this year, with quarterback Chip Bowden completing less than 40% of his passes. Despite that, Bowden mustered the troops and marched the team down the field. Senior Iwande Smith, who has not seen much time at halfback this year, was promoted this week the third string receiver after converted tight end Ali Villanaevu caught a bout of the dropitis. Despite being a newly moved receiver, Smith pulled in a twenty yard fade route from Bowden with seven seconds left to win the game for the Black Knights.

Coach Mason was seen jumping up and down as the pass was in the air. After the catch several cadets rushed him and dumped Gatorade on him, leaving him a wet, wild bundle of energy. He did not hold a post game press conference, instead telling reporters as the team ran off the field that he was taking the whole team out for ice cream for pulling off the upset against a 5-1 Rutgers squad who though they could win with their scout team.

Next week the Black Knights have a much needed bye week, followed by a trip to Colorado to face rival Air Force.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Army pulls out comeback against Temple.

West Point, NY (AP) - The Army Black Knights have had a lack luster season, losing four of the first six games. Sometimes they kept it close, but others they had their socks knocked off. They came into Philadelphia looking to pound on fellow cellar dweller Temple. Instead, the Black Knights had to come from behind to win a narrow 17-14 decision.

Temple came out firing, returning the opening kickoff 90 yards to take a 7-0 lead. Not to be outdone, the Black Knights tied it up 7-7 after a long drive with a six yard run by 'A' back George Fletcher. The teams traded possessions until Temple punched the ball in from the eight yard line to take a 14-7 lead. During the second quarter, and much of the third it looked like this was all the Owls needed as they punished the Army running game. Army was stopped on fourth down on their own 1 yard line. Army couldn't move the ball in the air, with three times as many dropped passes as completions. In fact, converted tackle Ali Villaneavu lost his spot as the slot hybrid H-Back due to a complete inability to catch the football. Army finished the game with one comepleted pass for 7 yards.

In the third quarter, Army finally put together a solid drive to tied the game up at 14. The Black Knight defense held the Owls to a short drive and it looked like Army would take the lead on their next possession. Instead, Army was again shut down on fourth and short on their goalline. The teams traded field position until a broken tackle allowed the Black Knights to travel into the opposing field, where Army kicker Andy Carlton put the ball through the uprights from 37 yards to take the lead. The Owls were not done, however as they drove down the field, only to turn the ball over on fourth down. Wisely, the Black Knights downed the ball to finish the game.

Coach Mason had the following to say, "Man, if we ever develop a passing game, we might be dangerous. We had seven yards in the air, SEVEN!!! I swear my baby girl could throw for seven yards. Maybe she will play QB for me. But we ran the crap out of the ball, had good third down conversions but we couldn't put the ball into the end zone. I am surprised we didn't lose this one. Credit goes out to Temple who played a hell of a game."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Army inks first two recruits for class of 2011.

West Point, NY (AP) - Army got commitments this week from two high school players who will come in next season looking to contribute. Coach Shaun Mason reached deep into the country to sign defensive tackle Anthony Burnette from Glendale, CA and cornerback Justin Foreman from Adamsville, AL.

Coach Mason had this to say about the two recruits, "Burnette is a mountain of a boy. If he grows into that frame of his, the cafeteria may be in trouble. He is already 6'1" and weights 304 lbs. I look for him to come in and help anchor that all important NT position in the 3-4 defense. He has good strength and is a sound tackle but needs to work on his hands so he can take on more blocks. The other fella, Foreman is a speed demon of a corner. He was clocked at something like 4.38. That's damn fast. I tell you what though, his speed isn't the most impressive thing abou him. He is great playing on an island and can really bump receivers even though he is only 6'0" and 168 lbs. He has a great vertical leap so he should be able to get up with those tall receivers."

Foreman is a three star recruit and Burnette is a two star recruit.

Black Knights rally to against Tulane

West Point, NY (AP) - The Black Knights, fresh off a two game losing streak, welcomed Tulane to town looking to right the ship. Before the game coach Shaun Mason had this to say, "This is an important game for us. Either we get back on track or this train could be headed to Disasterville. We have Notre Damn comin' to town next week and I don't want to start any season off 1-5. I'll tell you this, we have had a tough go of it. We had the Buckeyes and Wisconsin already this year, and we got the Fightin' Irish too? Lets see, four of our first six games are against The Big 10, the Big 12, and Notre Dame. Show me another team with that kind of OOC schedule. That's OK, we will take our beatings and get stronger. We damn near beat Iowa State, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. This is a must win."

Despite the motivation provided by Mason, the Black Knights came out very flat against Tulane. A quick three and out and they punted to the Green Wave. On the ensuing drive Tulane kicked a field goal to go up 3-0. On the kickoff return man Smith ran 91 yards to paydirt to give the Black Knights a 7-3 lead. After forcing another punt, Army broke a long run to go up 14-3. From here the wheels fell off for Army. Tulane got the ball back right before the half and drove the length of the field, scoring on a two yard run. At halftime the game was 14-10.

In the second half Tulane came out loaded for bear. On their first possession in the third Tulane put the ball in the end zone to go up 17-14. After trading possessions, Tulane again scored to put the score at 24-14. Things were looking bleak for the Black Knights as they again failed to move the ball. A quick possession by Tulane gave the Black Knights the ball with three minutes left in the game. A deep bomb followed by a quick running score put the Knights closer at 24-21. Tulane got the ball and tried to run the clock out. After being stopped on second and short, Tulane picked up the first down, further lowering the curtain on Army. Two quick run plays followed by Army timeouts put the yard marker at 3rd and long with less than a minute to go. Tulane dropped back, attempting to move the chains and were intercepted. Army pounds the ball down to the four yard line where CeDarius Williams found the endzone to win the game for Army.

The Army player of the game was defensive wizard V. Ugenyi who had 8 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. Next week Notre Dame travels to Michie Stadium.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Army loses heartbreaker in Iowa

West Point, NY(AP) - The Army Black Knights, fresh off a staggering defeat at Wisconsin, traveled to the Midwest once again to face the Iowa State Cyclones. The game started off on a promising note, with Army up 14-0 early in the first half. The Cyclones stormed back with fourteen unanswered points to tie the game up at 14. In the second half Iowa State continued rolling up points gaining a 21-14 lead. Not to be deterred, the Black Knights fought back, tying the game at twenty one.

With 1:31 left in the third quarter, Iowa State broke a fourty yard touchdown run to take a 28-21 lead. The teams traded three and out possession and Army got the ball back to start the final stanza. Army stormed down the field in three plays, with George Fletcher carrying most of the load as he scampered 70 yards to put the cadets inside the opposing ten. Backup running back Smith then took the ball to paydirt to tie the game at 28-28.

After forcing a Iowa State punt, Army continued their march down the field. After a punishing running game took them to the opposing twenty quarterback Chip Bowden turned the ball over on a midline option after being hit in brutal fashion. The Cyclones took advantage of the possession and scored the winning touchdown on a fifteen yard option run by Iowa State quarterback Arnaud.

Next week Army host Tulane.

Wisconsin Badgers Army

West Point, NY (AP) - The Black Knight traveled to the land of cheese to take on the Wisconsin Badgers in week three. Unfortunately they traveled without head coach Shaun Mason who missed the flight to Camp Randall. Not that it would matter as the home Badgers laid an impressive beating on the coachless Black Knights. The final score was 47-0 with Army laying yet another goose egg on offense. The only bright spot for the cadets was middle linebacker Shinda who had 16 tackles in the loss.

(Note: Razcal and I had to sim this due to online issues. It sucked to sim it since we were tight in both games when we got disconnected. I don't have the heart to write up this freakin' beatin'.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Black Knights Out-Duke Blue Devils

West Point, NY (AP) - After a depressing week one lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes, Army looked to demonstrate they aren't the same old Army against the Duke Blue Devils. After preaching ball control and defense all spring, head coach Shaun Mason got half what he wanted. The Army offense turned the ball over 4 times but the defense limited those opportunities as much as possible.

The highly touted flexbone offense installed by Mason gave it's first glimpse of what is possible, racking up 446 yards and 5 touchdowns. Duke had no answer for the misdirection plays sent at them all day long. Army even added 75 yards and a score through the air. Army 'A' back G... Fletcher started off the festivities with a 35 yard touchdown run early in the first quarter. He wasn't done there tough as he later pulled in a 39 yard touchdown pass and two more rushing touchdowns. The amazing thing is that he was the Black Knights third leading rusher. Quarterback Chip Bowden lead the way with 28 carries for 178 yards. Fullback CeDarius Williams was the second leading rusher with 19 rushes for 119 yards. Then came Fletcher, who had 113 yards on 12 carries. Patrick Mealy, the other 'A' back finished up the game with 35 yards on 5 carries, with two touchdowns.

Duke managed to score 28 points, but those were mostly due to the short field given to them on numerous occasions. The Black Knight defense dominated against the run, pushing Duke back 17 yards in the red. Middle linebacker Stephen Anderson again lead the way with 8 tackles.

Final score: 49-28

Coach Mason had the following to say in the post game press conference, "We played great on defense today. To give up the ball four times and only allow 28 points is amazing. I realize everyone is going to look at the final score and think our offense was great, but we turned over the ball four times. FOUR!! That is not acceptable. The offense is out running the field as we speak. We've got to travel to Wisconsin next week and that effort will result with us getting our ass kicked all over the field."