Navy 33, Air Force 27

By: AP
By: AP

Navy blocked two punts for touchdowns, Matt Harmon tied a school record with four field goals and the Midshipmen beat Air Force for a sixth straight time with a 33-27 win on Saturday.

The victory gives the Midshipmen (4-2) a leg up in their quest for a sixth straight Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, an annual competition between Army, Navy and Air Force for service academy supremacy. They play Army in the last game of the season.

Blake Carter blocked Ryan Harrison's punt early in the fourth quarter and Bobby Doyle pounced on it in the end zone, helping send the Midshipmen to their third straight win.

Carter also returned a blocked punt 25 yards for a score in the first quarter after Greg Shinego broke through the line and got a hand on it.

Jarod Bryant, filling in for an injured quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown. Eric Kettani finished with 75 yards.

Harmon hit field goals of 35, 48, 44 and 32 yards to tie a school mark held by five other kickers.

Shea Smith scored on a 2-yard run for the Falcons, and later found Kyle Halderman wide open over the middle for a 19-yard touchdown.

Smith left early in the fourth quarter after being sick on the sideline. Tim Jefferson took his place, leading the Falcons down the field for a late 2-yard touchdown run by Asher Clark to make it 33-27 with 2:32 remaining.

But Air Force's onside kick was recovered by Kettani and the Midshipmen ran out the clock, converting a fourth-down play when Kettani leaped over the top of the pile.

The Falcons (3-2) fumbled the ball five times and lost two, leading to 10 points.

Air Force erased a 10-point first-half deficit on Harrison's 24- and 23-yard field goals, along with Smith's 2-yard touchdown run on a fourth-down play. Smith's lunge through the middle was set up by Jake Paulson's recovery of Shun White's fumble deep in Navy territory.

Harmon hit a 48-yard field goal as time expired to tie the game at 13.

Bryant came out leading the Midshipmen offense as Kaheaku-Enhada spent the afternoon on the sideline, wearing his baseball cap backward.

Kaheaku-Enhada injured his hamstring against Wake Forest the week before.

Bryant marched the Midshipmen offense down the field for a 35-yard field goal by Harmon on the opening possession. Later in the first quarter, Shinego broke through the line and blocked Harrison's punt, Carter scooped up the bouncing football and bolted 25 yards for a touchdown.

It was Navy's first punt block for a score in nearly nine years.

Travis Dekker (ankle) and Ty Paffett (back) made their season debuts for Air Force. Dekker caught three passes for 32 yards, while Paffett had four carries for 27 yards.


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