A call that puts Mids on down side

December 06, 1992|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Navy's Jimmy Screen, the punt returner, would not be critical. Chad Chatlos, who was dropping back to block for a possible return, was diplomatic. And Navy coach George Chaump refrained from commenting because he hadn't

seen the films.

But a fourth-quarter punt by Army kicker Patmon Malcom thawas downed on the Navy 1-yard line -- but on replays appeared to be carried into the end zone -- proved to be critical to the 25-24 loss by the Midshipmen on Malcom's 49-yard field goal with 12 seconds left.

Facing fourth-and-15 with just more than three minutes left, Armcoach Bob Sutton had Malcom punt in an attempt to pin the Midshipmen close to their goal line. With Screen moving away, the ball hit on the 5-yard line, than bounced toward the end zone.

Army linebacker Aaron Mitchell grabbed the ball at the 1 and sliinto the end zone. While Navy players thought the play would be ruled a touchback, the officials said Mitchell had possession at the 1.

Navy, with Brian Ellis replacing injured Jason Van Matre at quarterback, was unable to move the ball in three plays (two passes by Ellis were dropped) and punted. That set up Malcom's winning field goal.

"They gave it to him. I don't know, I'll have to look at the films,Chaump said. "The official said you can go into the end zone and stop it. I'm not second-guessing -- I don't know what happened. I have to go by what they said. But from my vantage point, I saw a man in the end zone."

After the game Tom Bates, the Navy sports information directorrequested an explanation from referee John Soffey.

"He said that when you take possession, no matter where yoslide, it's ruled where you take possession," Bates said.

On the punt, Screen, following orders to let balls bounce inside the 10-yard line, backed away. Chatlos, who was dropping back to block, said the call appeared to be the right one.

"If the Army guy hadn't come down with it, I think it would havjust stopped there [at the 1]," Chatlos said. "It's weird, the way the ball hit on the 5-yard line and just stuck there.

It wasn't the first time this season that a questionable call by Big East officiating crew affected the outcome of a Navy game. On Oct. 10 at Air Force it was a Big East crew that was involved in the overruling of a fumble that helped set up a winning field goal by Falcons kicker Chris McInnis in the final seconds of the 18-16 Navy loss. A week later, the league ruled that the officials erred in overruling that fumble.

A family dilemma

For the first time since 1926, brothers played against each other in an Army-Navy game. Gaylord Greene, a senior wide receiver for Army, was on the opposite side of the field of his younger brother, Gil, a sophomore defensive back for Navy.

In an offense not known for its passing, Gaylord caught a 68-yartouchdown pass in the fourth quarter. After the game he shared an embrace with Gil, a backup in the Navy secondary, and their parents.

"It's a joyous dilemma," said James Greene, Gaylord and Gil'father. "We'll try to pick Gil's spirits up, then celebrate."

In 1926, Art Born started at guard for Navy and Chuck was lineman for Army.

Even the point spread is close

How close is this series, which is tied at 43-43-7? After yesterday's Army win the Midshipmen have scored 1,189 points in the series, and Army, 1,123.

The returns are in

Navy's Michael Jefferson finished the season with 32 kickoff returns, tying him with Bob Elfein (1970) for most kickoff returns in a season.

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