May 26, 2024
Annapolis, US 75 F

Navy Football Gets The Win They Needed. Shuts Out Wagner 24-0

Navy’s senior quarterback, Tai Lavatai, had an impressive performance, contributing 227 yards of total offense, including 161 passing yards and one touchdown. This led the Navy football team (1-1) to a 24-0 victory over Wagner College (0-2) in front of an announced crowd of 29,798 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. The win marked the first victory for Navy head coach Brian Newberry and the team’s first shutout since defeating Army 34-0 in 2008.

Despite facing two delays due to lightning, totaling more than 90 minutes, the game showcased Lavatai’s early dominance. On the Mids’ opening possession, Lavatai orchestrated a 7-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Daba Fofana. Notably, Lavatai connected with Anton Hall for a 45-yard pass during the drive.

While the plan was to utilize sophomore Blake Horvath at quarterback alongside Lavatai, Lavatai primarily controlled the offense. Although Evan Warren missed a field goal and a subsequent punt during Horvath’s brief appearances, Lavatai returned at the start of the second half and played until the game was well-decided, with freshman Braxton Woodson stepping in late.

With a 10-0 lead late in the second quarter, Lavatai led the Mids on a rapid 5-play, 80-yard drive, taking only 40 seconds. The drive concluded with a 12-yard touchdown pass to senior Camari Williams, marking Williams’ first career touchdown and extending Navy’s lead to 17-0. Lavatai completed all five passes on that drive, connecting with Nathan Kent twice for 45 yards, Alex Tecza for 14 yards, and Williams for the final 21 yards.

Despite offensive challenges in the first half due to unexpected defensive tactics from Wagner, the team made the necessary adjustments. However, there were still misreads, confusion in perimeter blocking, and missed opportunities. In the post-game press conference, Coach Newberry commented, “There are wins that you feel great ecstatic about and wins that you just feel okay about. And I think that was a, a win that we, we feel okay about. I thought we did some really good things. I don’t care who you’re playing, getting a shutout is hard to do nowadays. And, so hats off to our, our defense and Coach Volker and, and the defensive staff. I thought they put together a really good plan, thought they made some nice adjustments during the course of the game.”

Navy has a short week as they take on Memphis in Tennessee on Thursday, September 14, 2023, at 7:30 pm. Then a week off before they return to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis to take on the South Florida Bulls at 3:30 pm on September 30th.

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