Gold beats Blue on Rainy day, 16-13

Gold beats Blue on Rainy day, 16-13

ANNAPOLIS, Md.-Sophomore fullback Eric Kettani's one-yard touchdown run with 1:39 left in the contest gave the Gold a 16-13 victory over the Blue in Navy's annual Spring Football game on Friday night at a rain-soaked Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Joey Bullen had a chance to tie the game for the Blue on the final play of the game, but his 36-yard field goal attempt went wide left.

"I thought they had some fun tonight," said Navy head football coach Paul Johnson. "The conditions were tough and we had a lot of guys hurt so you can't make too much out of what happened. We were doing a lot of mixing and matching tonight."

The game was played in a driving rainstorm that caused both teams to have trouble hanging on to the ball. The two teams combined for 12 fumbles, losing six.

"Both teams made enough mistakes to lose 10 times," said Johnson. "We did a good job all spring of not fumbling the football. I think when you let everybody play it tends to get a little ragged at times."

Blue quarterback Brian Hampton was hurt on the Blue's first play from scrimmage when he was blindsided by Gold linebacker Rob Caldwell. Hampton's injury was not deemed serious, but he did not return the rest of the game.

"Hampton's injury isn't anything that time won't heal," said Johnson. "It's disappointing, because I would have liked to have seen him play a little bit tonight. All in all I thought he had a decent spring."

Sophomore kicker Matt Harmon gave the Gold a 3-0 lead with a 31-yard field goal with 4:08 remaining and the Gold increased its lead to 10-0 on their first possession of the second quarter on Jarrod Bryant's 16-yard touchdown run.

After the two teams exchanged punts, Blue quarterback Kaipo-Noa Keheaku-Enhada, showed off his speed with a 72-yard touchdown run down the right sideline to cut the lead to 10-7 at the half.

Keheaku-Enhada, who rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries, gave the Blue a 13-10 lead late in the third quarter when he capped off a 10-play, 70-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run. Senior kicker Ethan Gouge missed the extra-point.

The Gold caught a major break with 7:40 left in the game when punter Leif Walroth's 27-yard punt hit the Blue's Kerwin Scott on the leg and T.J. Thiel recovered the ball on the Blue 18-yard line. The Gold, however, couldn't take advantage of the mistake as Harmon missed a 29-yard field goal.

The Blue though would give the ball right back when Keheaku-Enhada fumbled on the second play and David Wright recovered the fumble at the 24.

"The rain didn't help matters tonight, but I have to get better at hanging on to the football," said Keheaku-Enhada. "The way I played tonight I wouldn't be surprised if Coach Johnson kicks me back to wide receiver. I would love to stay at quarterback, but we will have to see. I need to get better."

After a Byron McCoy five-yard run on first down, Kettani ran the ball three of the next four times to account for the final 19 yards to give the Gold the lead.

The Blue got the ball back at the 30-yard line with 1:39 left and Kaheaku-Enhada led them down the field setting up Bullen's 39-yard attempt that would have sent the game to overtime.

"I wasn't pulling against Joey there, but I definitely didn't want to see overtime," said Johnson.

Bryant carried the ball 14 times for 82 yards and a touchdown and completed two of his four passes for 30 yards for the Gold, while Kettani rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and also caught three passes for 43 yards. Troy Goss completed four of his five pass attempts for 38 yards.

"I was pretty happy with the way I played today," said Bryant. "I was real happy that I didn't turn the ball over, because it was raining pretty good. I knew I had to come out and have a good scrimmage because I was sitting on the bottom of the depth chart. I think the coaches have confidence in all of us that we can do the job."

Rob Caldwell led the Gold defense with 16 tackles, four tackles for a loss, a sack and a forced fumble. David Mahoney added six tackles.

Kaheaku-Enhada completed three of his seven pass attempts for 43 yards to go with his 195 yards rushing for the Blue. O.J. Washington caught three passes for 43 yards and carried the ball once for 22 yards.

"I thought Kaipo made some plays tonight," said Johnson. "He has some ability if he would just take care of the ball. I thought Jarrod Bryant did some good things. I was really impressed with Eric Kettani. I thought he ran the ball hard."

Clint Sovie led the Blue defense with 13 tackles and a sack. Larry Cylc added six tackles and a sack, while Keith Lisante and Casey Hebert also recorded a sack.

"I thought the defense played well tonight," said Johnson. "I thought the Gold defense played really well. Rob Caldwell made a bunch of plays and I thought Clint Sovie played well for the Blue."

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