Sunday, December 30, 2007

Vote for the Navy Football Play of the Year

The award circuit for college football may be over now that the Bowl games are in full swing, but here at Pitch Right we're honoring the best players and plays of the season. Today we're starting the voting for the best play of the year for the 2007 Navy football season with five plays I've felt should be in the discussion. Think I missed a play worthy of mention? Just mention it below and I'll gladly consider it, and be sure to vote for the play of the year on the sidebar to your right.

Play of the Year (Nominations)

"The Leap"

The already iconic image of Ram Vela flying over Armando Allen's head to disrupt Evan Sharpley and Notre Dame's offense on a 4th down play that may have given Notre Dame it's 44th consecutive win over Navy. The play was so much more than just the critical stop that pushed the game into overtime, but a play which swung the game's momentum decidedly in Navy's favor after Notre Dame stole momentum midway through the 4th quarter. It's come to symbolize the never say die attitude that is a hallmark of this Navy program, and the triumph of the guy who they thought was too small or too slow to play Division I-A football.

Bobby Doyle to Jarod Bryant

In a game filled with big plays and game changing moments, this one stands out to me as the most memorable. There was Buffin's interception and Jarod's 35 yard run in which he seemingly made every Duke player miss in the open field, but none of it would have been possible had reserve slotback Bobby Doyle (a former QB at Chardon High in Ohio) not thrown a picture perfect pass to backup quarterback Jarod Bryant for the two point conversion. Not only did it tie the game at 43, but it helped to save a season that seemed to be rapidly heading for disaster.

Bullen Does It Again

Taken as statistics only, an outside observer may have seen Joey Bullen's kicking career at the Naval Academy as decidedly average. But for periods of inconsistency and even losing his job for much of the 2006 season, Bullen always proved himself in the clutch and came through when the game was on the line. As incredible as his 44 yard field goal as time expired to beat Duke was, maybe more incredible is how the former backup came in almost stone-cold to redeem himself and prove that it wasn't just the starters who don't quit.

Off to the Races

Up 24-20 with just over nine minutes left in the game, Navy needed a score to keep Air Force at arms length and make it a two possession game. With a defense that had struggled and an Air Force offense determined not to be defeated for a fifth straight year, the Mids got a much needed lift when Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada accelerated past the entire Air Force defense en route to a 78-yard touchdown run off the option. The play put Air Force into panic mode, and helped lead Navy to it's fifth consecutive win over the Falcons.

Not One Step Back

Resiliency. We talked about it so much in the course of the season, but there is no more perfect example of it than in the final play of Navy's 46-44 overtime win at Notre Dame. After four quarters and three overtimes the 2007 Navy football team was not about to let it's best chance in year's pass them by. Need I say more?

Be sure to check in tomorrow afternoon when I present my individual awards for the 2007 Navy football season.


Gary said...

Ram was "the man"!
No other play comes close and his flight will forever be etched in my mind.

Though it was temptinmg to choose the play with JB.

USNA Ancient said...

Ram Vela's leap a close second. It has got to be the last stop in the 3rd overtime on 4th and goal at the one, after a morale-deflating bad call which gave ND another chance to tie, and Navy's maligned defense stood up and stopped them cold to end the "Curse of Touchdown Jesus" after 43 straight loses.

EightyFiver said...

It's Ram. C'mon, this photo was on the front of sports sections nationwide. They showed replays on ESPN.
The real beauty of this moment is that ND is supposed to have both superior athletes and better preparation. Ram's post-game comments showed that he actually studied the way Armando Allen sets his blocks -- too low, in Ram's opinion. He saw his moment and took it, vaulting over Allen.
My classmates and I went nuts in the stands. The Domers around us were dead silent. They knew that there would be no magic that day.

Gary said...

I do somewhat agree with usna ancient but then I thought again and without the Ram Leap we would not have been brought to that moment of the D line stand.
His play put more in motion than that one great play-
It was one giant leap for Navy kind!

Anonymous said...

Vela's leap was spectacular but am I the only who noticed that the sack was actually made by Kuhar-Pitters? Without a doubt, it was the stop on 4th down in the third overtime against Notre Dame. Navy wins and loses as a team. The 4th down stop epitomizes the whole concept of Navy football. It is about team effort and unselfishness.

Mike said...

Kuhar-Pitters made the sack because the man who was blocking him had to disengage in order to try to block Vela. CKP got the sack, but made it possible.

Anonymous said...

CPK beat the guard and tackle on that play. The tackle, #74, tried to pick up Vela as an afterthought. Again, Vela's leap was spectacular but CKP did the job that Vela got credit for. What about the play when Walsh forced the fumble that CKP was fortunate enough to scoop up and return for six?

Mike said...

If Kuhar-Pitter had beaten his man on that play, he would have gotten to the quarterback first.

football dad dan said...

Come on Anonymous, ... Get with the "program" here ---> You are trying to "destroy the Legend"!!!
Ram Vela's "Leap of Faith" clip is the face of the 2007 victory over Notre Dame --> To try and reduce this play to nothing more than an "outstanding hustle/effort" by Vela, ... "but he really didn't produce the 4th down, game saving sack" ... is tantamount to blasphemy my man. Reminds me of that line in 'Flags of Our Fathers' --> "When given the choice to publish the fact or the legend, ... publish the legend".
Frankly, I could not bring myself to vote for that play, ... because I remember him completely missing (poor fundamentals)that sure QB sack on that 4th & 14 play earlier in the 4th quarter on the ND 30 yard line, ... which very likely would have put the game away for good & made OT, etc... OBE.

Gary said...

Ram`s was the most memorable play for me since Lescyenski threw the game winning TD to McConkey vs BYU.

Its been awhile.