Navy deserves salute for bad call reaction

The Inside Stuff

October 19, 1992|By Bill Tanton

The Naval Academy deserves to be applauded for a classy act at the midpoint of the football season. The team's 0-5 record is hardly reason for applause. But Navy, in the face of a terrible injustice, has reacted with admirable restraint.

When notified the other day that the game officials had blown a call, allowing Air Force to go on to a last-minute field goal and a tainted 18-16 victory over the Midshipmen, Navy resisted the urge to scream bloody murder.

The Mids did not protest the game, demand a recount or ask that the win be taken away from Air Force. Nor did they crucify the referee, who, as the Big East supervisor of officials admitted in writing, erred in ruling that an Air Force back was down before TC fumbling a ball that was recovered by Navy with 57 seconds left.

What they did when the letter came down was take their medicine like men.

"It's over and done," says Navy athletic director Jack Lengyel, who has been around the game long enough to understand that officials, like all humans, make mistakes.

What makes the pain excruciating is that if there's a team anywhere that needs a win, it's Navy. Because of an extraordinary run of injuries, Navy has been playing with a makeshift lineup.

"It's also tough," says Lengyel, "because if we had beaten Air Force and gone on to beat Army, we'd win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy."

The winner of that annual three-way competition serves as host team for the Liberty Bowl if it has a worthy record. Navy hasn't won the trophy since 1981.

If Navy were 1-4 now with six games left, it's conceivable that it could finish with a "worthy" record.

"Our minds now are on getting ready to play Delaware in our homecoming game Saturday," says Lengyel.

0$ "Our football team -- especially

our defense -- is playing much better than it did early in the season. At Air Force, we gave up 16 yards in the second quarter and 17 yards in the third quarter. I think we're ready to come on."

It won't be easy to come on against Delaware, which is 5-1 and fresh off a 21-20 win over highly regarded Villanova. Last year Delaware beat the Mids, 29-25, in Annapolis.

* Glenn Foley's four-touchdown, 344-yard passing performance in Boston College's 35-32 victory at Penn State Saturday was most pleasing to a bunch of people down our way.

Foley's younger brother, Kevin, is a freshman quarterback at Maryland, where he's being red-shirted.

Glenn Foley's girlfriend of the past four years -- since the two were in high school in Cherry Hill, N.J. -- is Boston College sophomore Jennifer Baker, who is the granddaughter of Baltimorean Bish Baker. In the '40s and '50s, Bish Baker and the late Lefty Reitz coached every sport at Loyola College.

* It doesn't upset me when Maryland loses a football game. The Terps don't have great talent -- yet. But it does bother me when a few Maryland offensive players blame their

30-23 loss to Wake Forest Saturday on injuries to two Wake players on one play, which delayed the game 30 minutes.

If anybody had reason to be upset, it was the Wake Forest players, who had just seen one of their teammates (Willie Hall) flown by helicopter to Shock Trauma in Baltimore and another (Gleen Hart) taken by ambulance to Prince George's County Hospital.

Maryland coach Mark Duffner says the one thing his team has to do is "eliminate the big play on defense." Duffner had better do something about his offense, which saw QB John Kaleo sacked nine times Saturday. That, plus four Kaleo interceptions, doomed Maryland.

* What's wrong with these people who see this World Series as Americans vs. Canadians? Don't they realize that Toronto, like every other club in the majors, is made up exclusively of Americans and Latinos?

* It shouldn't surprise anyone that Richard Hoffberger, the young president of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen, emerged as the hero in working out the agreement with track management that keeps Pimlico open for winter training.

Hoffberger comes from good stock. His father is Jerry Hoffberger, who owned the Orioles from 1966 through 1979 and had them in five World Series. Though Hoffberger's clubs drew only about 1 million (compared with this year's 3,567,819) no one ever accused him of refusing to spend the money necessary to win.

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