One of the nifty little stats connected with the EagleBank Bowl is how the Midshipmen have gone to a bowl game for the sixth straight season while technically trotting out a different primary starter each season.
I say technically because Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada will tie Jarod Bryant for the season when he makes his sixth start tomorrow in the EagleBank Bowl.
Kaipo will become the first Navy quarterback in that stretch to start two bowl games. Craig Candeto, Aaron Polanco, Lamar Owens and Bryant each started one.
But, in a rare nod to the Big Bag of Sportswriters Cliches, whether you finish means just as much as whether you start. And in games against Wake Forest the last two seasons, Kaipo hasn’t made it to the end.
“We’ve been fortunate twice now, last season and then this season, that Kaipo didn’t play four quarters against us either time,” Demon Deacons coach Jim Grobe said. “We know he’s healthy and at full speed, and the offense itself presents a lot of problems.”
Kaipo’s the major reason why. He dissected Army earlier this month after nearly a month between games, and that was one of only two games he played after re-injuring himself against Wake.
If he can go the distance tomorrow —- for only the third time all year —- chances are much better Navy will flummox the Demon Deacons again.
“I’ve not seen a better decision-maker. whenever he makes a poor decision, whenever he hands it off he shouldn’t or pitches when he shouldn’t, it’s so unusual that it kind of catches you off guard,” Grobe said. “This is as good a guy at running the option as I’ve seen.”
—- Patrick Stevens