|Falcons aim to end five-game skid against Navy|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 03 October 2008 10:28|
``When you are a coach, you are in a dungeon all day,'' Niumatalolo said.
His days in the dungeon - scheming, game-planning, breaking down film - have been highly profitable, as Navy is coming off a 24-17 win over No. 25 Wake Forest last weekend. It was the Midshipmen's first win over an opponent ranked in both polls in 23 years.
e academy supremacy.
The Midshipmen have dominated the series of late, retaining the trophy the last five seasons.
The Falcons, though, think it's about time the crown comes back. They had won the trophy 13 of 14 years before Navy's reign.
``I came back for a sixth year to have the opportunity to win it and have a chance to get after these guys,'' said Air Force receiver Ty Paffett, who may play for the first time this year after offseason back surgery. ``I remember when I was at the (Air Force) prep school, I got a chance to see the trophy. This is our year to go get it.''
Navy's not ready to relinquish it yet.
``Hopefully our kids understand that this is our biggest game of the season,'' said Niumatalolo, a longtime Navy assistant who was promoted to head coach in December. ``This is a huge game for us. Winning the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is our No. 1 goal every year.''
The Falcons (3-1, 1-1 MWC) have had an extra week to stew over a 30-23 last-minute loss to No. 15 Utah. It was a game in which Air Force's vaunted option attack was held to just 53 yards rushing, the second-lowest output since the team went to their trademark offense in 1980.
i has surpassed 100 in two straight games.
Navy will oscillate between the two, depending on which one the opposition tries to take away.
``It is all predicated on what the defense gives us,'' Niumatalolo said.
The Midshipmen also have a dual threat at quarterback in Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada and Jarod Bryant, a converted slotback.
Kaheaku-Enhada injured his hamstring against the Demon Deacons in the second quarter, but Bryant stepped in and kept Navy rolling. Bryant scored a late fourth-quarter touchdown to wrap up the upset.
Niumatalolo isn't sure how much Kaheaku-Enhada will play this weekend. Air Force is preparing to see a steady diet of both.
``They have both been strong contributors to their football team, so I don't think you're going to see a drastic difference in the way that they attack,'' Falcons coach Troy Calhoun said. ``You're still going to see them line up and do their stuff and do it quite well, too.''
That wasn't the case early in the season when Navy started 1-2. But the Midshipmen have found their footing, winning their last two games.
``It's never as good as it looks and it is never as bad as it looks,'' Niumatalolo said. ``We just had to keep going. I knew we weren't far off.''
The winner of this game takes a huge step forward in capturing the trophy, especially with Army winless.
acker Ken Lamendola said. ``We haven't beaten them in five years.''
Not that the Falcons needed to be reminded of that.
``We look forward to going and get that thing (trophy) back,'' Paffett said. ``It's been gone too long.''