- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 17, 2001

ANNAPOLIS Navy made its priorities clear yesterday. The academy announced its football team would not make up the game canceled by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks because its only open date coincides with exam week.
The Midshipmen were scheduled to play at Northwestern on Sept. 15, but all Division I-A games either were postponed or canceled that weekend because of the attacks in New York and at the Pentagon. Nearly right away, the school announced that game would not be made up, but Navy still sought an 11th opponent as late as last week. The Mids reportedly were looking at some Division I-AA teams for Nov. 3 the Saturday before the annual Army-Navy game but decided against scheduling another game after seeing the results of the midterm exams.
"In the final analysis, scheduling a contest on Nov. 3, at the end of a critical exam week for the midshipmen, was not appropriate," Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said in a release. "At year's end, we will place an asterisk next to the 2001 season reminding all that this has been a difficult fall for many reasons."
Not that it's going to matter, but the loss of the 11th game won't stop Navy (0-5) from being bowl eligible. The NCAA said after the attacks that any team that plays only 10 games and wins at least five could qualify for the postseason.
In other news related to the attacks, the academy increased security again, meaning visitors are not allowed on campus.

Just for kicks
One of the Mids' few positives during their horrendous start has been senior kicker David Hills, who hit field goals of 40 and 43 yards in Saturday's 21-13 loss to Rice. Hills has become one of Navy's most consistent kickers of the past decade, making all six of his attempts this season and 15 of 18 kicks in his two years on varsity.
"I don't think about [stats]," Hills said. "In the trenches with the big guys, they work hard to get the ball down field, and I don't want to let them down. … The hardest thing to do is to look them in the eyes after I miss."
Although Hills went to the Naval Academy Prep School as a football player, he began his freshman year at Navy playing lacrosse. He was an All-American during his senior year of high school at Shaker in Latham, N.Y., and played one varsity season for the Mids. But Hills switched sports as a sophomore, becoming Navy's kicker during spring practice last year.
Still, the desire to play lacrosse eats at him. Sometimes after practice he chats with friends on the lacrosse team, picks up a stick and tosses a few balls. Hills misses it so much, in fact, he plans to rejoin the team as a midfielder in the spring.
"I played a little in the summer, but it's tough," Hills said. "I have to not play. It's too hard to put the stick down. … I had to give my stick to my dad [to take home] the last time he was here."

Good company
Sophomore right end Ralph Henry isn't the only football player in his family. His cousins include Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Courtney Brown "my grandmother's brother's son," he said and Buccaneers backup quarterback Joe Hamilton, a former standout at Georgia Tech.
"Basically my whole family plays football," said Henry, who made his first start against Rice. "We just try to keep it in the family."

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide