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This season, however close it was to yielding another bowl appearance, only renewed his belief that such vigilance is necessary.

“Let me speak quite frankly: I think people around our building and our athletic department, the people at the school, I think they forgot how hard it is,” Niumatalolo said. “They just think ‘Win-win-win,’ we’ll pop these wins out. We’re still the Naval Academy. There’s still an academic requirement to come in here. We’re not getting five-star guys. We’re getting good players, but it’s always going to be a battle. Hopefully, it resonates with everybody.”

For this week, though, such issues matter little. For the Mids who will play their final game Saturday, there won’t be a chance to play in a bowl game to cap their careers.

Nonetheless, they hope to provide a push to the next senior class as they depart — and avoid some of the lousy luck that helped define their last season.

“Army-Navy, what better opportunity than to do it here?” senior defensive end Jabaree Tuani said.