Call them the new Cardiac Kids.
Two weeks ago, Navy's Midshipmen rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Colgate, 42-35. And they improved their heart-stopping act on the road Saturday, overcoming Boston College's 28-10 lead with 22 points in the last quarter to edge the Eagles, 32-31.
"We feel like we're supermen right now," said senior free safety Adam Crecion, who triggered the 3-4 Mids' dramatic turnaround with a key fourth-quarter interception against Colgate.
Crecion credits the resurgence to a meeting members of the defense held after being blitzed at Air Force, 49-7.
"We had a long talk after that game," he said. "A lot of the guys said, 'Let's just have fun,' instead of making it a job out here. We wanted to play like we did in high school. We started making plays like we should, and it's made a big turnaround on the field.
"We're trusting each other now and playing with a lot more confidence. There's a feeling now that anything is possible."
Still, Navy's comeback against BC was almost nullified in the final second, when John Matich attempted a 40-yard field goal. It seemed on target until hooking wide left.
"I went totally nuts," said Crecion. "I was so excited, I kept running circles around the field."
Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie has a whole week to savor what he labeled "the sweetest victory I've been around as both a player and coach." His Mids return to action at home against Rutgers on Nov. 7.
Asked what effect the come-back victories will have on his team, he said: "I've always believed you get three or four games a year that come down to the last minute or so, and we've already won two of them this season. I feel that gives us an advantage knowing we can win these type of games."
Weatherbie would not second-guess himself on passing up a chance to make a first down with fourth-and-inches from the BC 18 with 45 seconds left and the Eagles minus a timeout. Senior Tom Vanderhorst missed the 34-yard field-goal attempt, giving BC an opportunity to win with a field goal.
Said Weatherbie: "I felt if we make the field goal, Boston College has to score a touchdown to beat us. If we miss the try for the first down, it gives them tremendous momentum.
"Plus, Vanderhorst has made a lot of clutch kicks for us in the past. He's reliable inside the 40, I had to like his chances. I feel you have to take the points given the opportunity."
Close to home
Junior slotback John Vereen of Pasadena waited three years to score his first touchdown for Navy. It came at an opportune time, as he scooted 8 yards around left end for the winning touchdown against BC.
"By that time, I was too tired to really celebrate," Vereen said.
Navy was the only Division I school to offer a scholarship after he graduated from Severn School. "I just wanted to go someplace where my mother wouldn't have to worry about paying tuition," he said. "The Naval Academy proved a great choice."
Pub Date: 10/28/98