Mids' Blue-Gold game is hardly without color

Spring contest has a little of everything, even OT

Navy notebook

College Football

April 25, 2004|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Navy coach Paul Johnson laughed when asked about yesterday's Blue-Gold spring game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

"I think everything that could happen in a game did," Johnson said. "It was a good learning experience."

The Midshipmen are one of only three NCAA teams to never play an overtime game, but this preseason scrimmage went to the extra period. Adam Young kicked a 28-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime to give the White team a 26-23 victory - a win sealed when the Blue team's Chase Hobby missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt on the next series.

As Johnson said, there were a number of different events that took place in this game. In addition to the game-tying and winning field goals, plus the miss that sealed a White victory, there were other big plays. Blue defensive end John Chan intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 60 yards to set up an early score.

There were penalties, key interceptions and fumbles as the White team rallied from a 10-point deficit to take the lead with 6:57 left in the game, but a missed extra point left the lead at 23-20. It also left the Blue needing only a field goal to force overtime. Geoff Blumenfeld did just that with a 41-yard kick with 2:33 left.

Young then got the game-winning kick on the initial overtime drive of the controlled scrimmage. The teams played it like a regular college overtime game, with possession starting on the opponent's 25-yard line.

Greetings, captains

Johnson confirmed that first-string quarterback Aaron Polanco and safety Josh Smith have been elected team captains.

Polanco, a senior, ran for 117 yards on 14 carries yesterday, scoring on a 1-yard run on the Blue team's first drive.

"I think he played OK," Johnson said. "If he's going to be the starting quarterback, he needs to do more."

Smith made seven tackles for the White team.

Getting a chance

Chan has come a long way in a year. He weighed only 206 last season and saw time on the team's junior varsity squad but kept working.

The sophomore now is pushing almost 250 and moved to third on the varsity depth chart at right defensive end. He alertly grabbed a tipped pass and took off on the 60-yard return.

End zone

Senior cornerback Lord Cole was named the winner of the team's most improved player award during spring drills. ... Johnson liked the play of White quarterback Lamar Owens and slot back Marco Nelson. Owens, a junior who is second on the depth chart, completed 11 of 15 for 168 yards with two interceptions. Nelson had four catches for 102 yards. ... Kyle Eckel, last year's rushing leader, sat out while rehabilitating his shoulder.

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