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Navy Football sets sail with Fan Fest and Media Day

| August 5, 2018

The Navy football season has officially begun with the return of the players to Annapolis and the annual Navy Fan Fest.

Coach Ken Niumatalolo held his first official press conference during Navy Football’’s Media Day at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to kick off the annual Navy Fan Fest on Saturday. Niumatalolo is entering his 11th year as the head coach of the Midshipmen and feels very confident in his team as they prepare to take on the likes of Memphis and UCF this season.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this year, I couldn’t be more excited about this team,” said Niumatalolo, “especially because of the work they put in.”

twitter.com/NavyAthletics/status/1025797788972593153

Niumatalolo elaborated saying that this team reminds him of some of the historic teams that he has been a part of during his 21 years with the Naval Academy, and credits a noticeable difference in culture. Specifically, strength and conditioning will play a key role in helping Navy maintain their winning ways. Last season Navy started off the season 5-0 but ended the last seven regular season games with a 1-6 record including a heartbreaking 13-14 loss to Army in December.

Listen to the entire press conference here:

Joining Niumatalolo on the panel were co-captains Sean Williams (S) and Anthony Gargiulo (FB). This batch of Navy seniors is the first in 16 years to have lost the Army-Navy game more times than they have won during their time in the Academy, but they don’t just look at one game as the single goal like teams past. They AAC is getting stronger every year and it will take discipline to execute the triple option to perfection and have a chance to get back to the conference championship.

Gargiulo maintains that all the details in a Mid’s life need to be focused on to ensure that there is no complacency on the field, including making sure his teammates maintain their haircuts and shaves. “Little things had a big factor on finishing games. By doing the little things right, we fix those finishes and make us a better team.” Said Gargiulo.

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“Our culture in Navy football lies in the details and discipline,” said Williams, “we don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel.”

Jr. Malcolm Perry (QB) and Sr. Hudson Sullivan (LB) finished out the panel. Perry took over the starting quarterback role for Zach Abey against SMU. In his first start ever at quarterback, Perry rushed for an AAC-record 282-yards and four touchdowns to lead Navy to a 43-40 win.

Perry’s play was electric all season, even when he wasn’t under center. Perry was the only player in the FBS in 2017 to have two runs of 70 or more yards and one reception of 70 or more yards. He finished the year with 1,182 yards averaging 8.6 YPC and 11 rushing TD. His playmaking abilities have led to talk of him joining a long list of successful Navy QB’s, including Keenan Reynolds who holds the NCAA D-I records for most yards (4,559) and most rushing TD (88) ever. When asked if he felt added pressure to maintain that level of success, Perry kept his calm and humble demeanor.

“I don’t think focusing on that would be beneficial as a player, but I definitely recognize that there have been some great quarterbacks that have come through,” said Perry.

Instead, Niumatalolo did the bragging for him. “He’s one of our better players. I think his work ethic just exudes a leader.”

The Navy season officially kicks off on September 1st when the Midshipmen travel to Hawaii. The home opener will be week 2 when reigning AAC-West Division Champions Memphis comes to Annapolis.

For my look ahead at Navy football’s schedule, click here.

For complete coverage of Navy football, make sure to follow @ShellBackSports on FB, IG, and Twitter.

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Category: LIFE IN THE AREA, Local News, NEWS, Post To FB, Sports

About the Author - Kevin Chaney, Jr

Kevin Chaney covers sports all at all levels throughout Anne Arundel County. Follow him on twitter @Kchaneysports and his website www.Shellbacksports.com

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