JOE BIDDLE: Local quarterback sets record as Navy sails by Army - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Local quarterback sets record as Navy sails by Army

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Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, photo courtesy, Washington Post Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, photo courtesy, Washington Post

Their teams rarely show up in the Top 25 polls.

Their players can't be found on All-American teams.

You won't hear their names called when the NFL draft is filled with players from the power conferences, not players who have a five-year commitment the minute they graduate from college.

Their job description after graduation at times will be to kill, or be killed.

None of their coaches are making Nick Saban money.

But when Army and Navy get together on the football field once a year, no other game can begin to match this one when it comes to tradition, to competitiveness, to laying it all out on the ground.

If watching the West Point cadets and Naval Academy midshipmen march onto the field in the historic city of Philadelphia doesn't give you goose bumps, well, you don't get it.

Author John Feinstein wrote an award-winning book about the series. The Civil War was packed with human interest stories, with heartbreaking losses and exhilarating wins.

The game features players who will go on to serve their country, perhaps making the ultimate sacrifice. Being in the military is not a game. It's a way of life. It's not for everyone.

The names of those who have play in the Army-Navy game includes a who's who of American heroes. Roger Staubach played in the 1963 game, which occurred 15 days after the stunning assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Staubach was leaving a thermodynamics class when he heard the news that shocked the nation.

Staubach won the Heisman Trophy that season, graduated and served a tour in Vietnam before returning to play for the Dallas Cowboys and leading them to championships as they became known as America's team.

Nashville's Sam Bartholomew Jr., was captain of the 1966 West Point team. It was his class that lost more graduates to the Vietnam War than any other.

Saturday's game will also see a number of players go on to serve their country, some deploying to Afghanistan and future hot spots around the world.

Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds is from Antioch, played at Goodpasture and led his team to a 34-7 win and Navy's 12th straight win in the 114th game in this series.

Reynolds set a FBS record by scoring his 29th rushing touchdown by a quarterback in a season. He broke the record of 27 rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, shared by Navy's Ricky Dobbs in 2009 and Kansas State's Collin Klein in 2011.

Reynolds scored on runs covering 47, 11 and one yards to get the record. His team will play Middle Tennessee State in the Armed Forces Bowl Dec. 30 in Fort Worth.

A sophomore, Reynolds was masterful in leading Navy's triple option offense, often played in blinding snow and wind. His ability to run and cut on the slippery surface could not be stopped by Army. He even caught a pass on a two-point conversion to add icing on the cake.

It was 17-0 at halftime and Navy scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to keep Army at bay.

CBS analyst Gary Danielson was effusive in his praise for Reynolds.

"He's a notch better than anyone else on the field,'' Danielson said. "Reynolds is at a different level.''

Navy finished the season 8-4, while Army left with only three wins this season.

The seniors from both service academies will now graduate in the spring, receive their commissions and be assigned to Army, Navy and Marine units for more training on how to lead troops in combat.

Winning four games against Army during their career will be a lifelong memory they can carry with them.

Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com.

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