Last year's game-winner was kick Navy's Schenk wouldn't mind repeating

December 06, 1990|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Evening Sun Staff

ANNAPOLIS -- During his cruise out of Seattle last summer, Navy's Frank Schenk remembers how shipmates he didn't know would walk past him and whisper to a friend, "Hey, that's the guy who kicked it."

That indeed was the guy who kicked it. Schenk's 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds left gave Navy a 19-17 victory over Army last year, breaking the Middies' three-year losing string.

"The scene on the sideline was wild," said linebacker Bill Bowling, now a Navy co-captain. "The brigade came out of the stands onto the field and seniors, the ones I knew, thanked me for giving them the chance to beat Army.

"If we hadn't won, they would have left here without experiencing it. That made a big impression on me about how much the game means to everybody."

The win gave Navy the edge in the rivalry, 42-41-7. Now the teams will go at it once more when they meet for the 91st time in their 100th anniversary game Saturday in Philadelphia. Schenk conceivably could be called on again.

"When I was home for Thanksgiving, we were talking about how this would be my last game," Schenk said. "My sister said, 'What if you kick another winning field goal?' My mother said, 'Let's not push our luck.' "

After Schenk made the winning kick against Army, his parents waited for him outside the locker-room door along with hundreds of Navy fans.

"I remember it was so cold that day," said Frank's mother, Marilyn. "We waited and waited and finally just one lone figure came out and it was him. That place went crazy. He just hugged us and broke down and cried."

It wouldn't surprise Schenk if he winds up in the pressure cooker again at game's end.

"I hope we'll be well ahead in the fourth quarter, but traditionally it's a close game," Schenk said. "It could come down to a field goal again. I'd better be ready."

In terms of his kicking, Schenk feels he has had a subpar season, even though he beat Villanova with a pair of fourth-quarter field goals, 23-21. After hitting 12 of 21 field goal attempts last year, he converted seven of 13 this season, but was 0-for-4 from 40 yards and beyond.

"I could think up 1,000 excuses, but the fact is I just haven't done it," Schenk said.

Last summer, it was discovered that Frank Sr. had cancer. The family attended the first four Navy games this season before he became too ill to travel. Last month, he died. Frank Jr. missed the Toledo game after his father's death.

"You have to realize that my son and husband were so close ... " Marilyn said. "This has been tough on all of us. Frank dedicated the season to him.

"He's had a real bad season with my husband being sick and that was on his mind all the time."

Marilyn and her two daughters will fly to Philadelphia to attend Saturday's game at Veterans Stadium.

If the game does come down to a field goal by Frank Jr., Marilyn said she knows her husband probably will be watching from above.

"He's at peace now," she said. "My son knows that and I know that."

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