Steelman is Captain Clutch in BC stunner

Army quarterback Trent Steelman wore the captain’s C for the first time on Saturday, and in true clutch form, the senior from Kentucky reeled off a 29-yard go-ahead touchdown run with 45 seconds left to will the Black Knights past Boston College, 34-31, in front of a loud, sold-out Michie Stadium. “You live for these types of moments,” Steelman said. “You dream about these types of moments. To be put in that position and go finish is an unbelievable feeling. It’s an unbelievable feeling for this team.”Steelman, who scored three times, picked up 141 yards while junior running back Raymond Maples collected a career-best 184 yards and sophomore running back Larry Dixon ran for 128 yards as Army upset another BCS team in West Point. After my whining last week, the fans and Corps showed up to support the team for this game — it was loud, passionate and memorable, especially after a failed 4th-and-1 with two minutes to go left Army down by four points and looking at their fifth straight loss.

Then, Steelman capped one of the best games of his career and sent about 40,000 fans home happy.

I was happy too — storm-the-field emotional victories like this are a photographer’s dream. I picked up my third straight ESPN Photo of the Week and was right in the middle of the celebration with a team that deserved a good let-loose moment:

On to the photos. The pre-game jump was again canceled due to high winds, so we had another formal march-on with the Corps:

Michie was sold out, but horrendous (and I mean, brutal, disastrous, crippling) traffic caused by random police checkpoints kept a lot of people from getting through the gates by kickoff.

 

Army takes the field with 1st Infantry Division flag:

Stephen Fraser left with a leg injury later in the game but fielded this kick earlier:

Dixon rumbles through the Eagles’ defense:

Rookie kicker Daniel Grochowski kicks an extra point. Grochowski nailed a 46-yarder in the first half but then missed a chip in that would loom over the scoreboard late.

Boston College’s Andre Williams rushed 21 times for 191 yards and a pair of scores in a huge offensive day thanks in-part to a school-record 99-yard run:

Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig connected on 16-of-29 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown:

Steelman celebrates with Dixon and Chevaughn Lawrence after a touchdown in the first half:

During the third quarter, I ran up to the top row of the east stands with the Corps to snap some wide-angle shots of Michie. I tried to work the flags in, but it was so crowded up there, it was tough to get an ideal frame. Plus, how about this cadet holding a BC shirt for me?

I stuck the camera over my head for this one:

Rich Ellerson watches during the third. He spoke about his team’s effort afterward:

“That’s the culmination of a lot of stuff during the course of the contest,” he said. “We were fortunate, but we played hard. We had a bunch of guys go down, and some of those were in for someone else who had already gone down. It was great to see those guys step up, keep making plays, keep making adjustments, and keep battling. It didn’t look like things could get any darker, but that’s okay. We kept playing and something good happened. There are so many lessons in a contest like that. We just need to make sure we grow. We don’t relax. We don’t take a step back. We grow from this because this feels so much better than the other stuff.”

“It was a hard-fought game,” Ellerson said. “We’re fortunate to win. There are so many great stories out there. It’s a wonderful reward for a group of guys who have continued to battle through all kinds of adversity. We did enough things right, and we kept battling.”

Steelman posted the clutch effort with an injured midsection, no less.

“It’s a totally different feeling,” Steelman said. “I kind of got a little bit emotional coming off the field, just knowing that this team has fought through so much. We could easily have just rolled over, but we didn’t. We came out and fought like we knew we could, and it was a team win today. Without the defense stopping them on the last drive, we wouldn’t have finished the game off. I’m just so proud of the seniors for sticking with it and sticking close together.”

“We just wanted to go out and have fun,” Steelman said. “We’ve been playing this game our whole life, but I think we just kind of got caught up in all of the outside voices and all of the pressure that whoever was putting on us. We lost that edge and we lost that ability to have fun. Today, we regained that. We went out there and played like we were back in sixth grade or middle school or high school, running around and having fun.”

“I was thinking ‘A touchdown wins the game.’ There is really no other thought you can put in your head besides ‘Go make it happen,’” Steelman said. “You live for these types of moments. You dream about these types of moments. To be put in that position and go finish is an unbelievable feeling. It’s an unbelievable feeling for this team.”

Poor BC coach Frank Spaziani will have to answer to fans, who are calling for him to be fired

I got a nice series of Maples running at me late in the game:

Patrick Laird signals a first down:

Sometimes you can get some cool photos on special teams with guys coming in for a couple plays and blocking like their life depended on it:

“Honestly, I have to give credit to our offensively line,” Maples said. “Without them I wouldn’t have gotten anything. Also, I wasn’t really thinking about how many times I was getting. It’s kind of routine when we’re out there on the field.”

Boston College believed they had this game wrapped up after their stopped Maples on a fourth-and-one near the goaline with two minutes to go:

But after Army’s defense forced a three-and-out punt, Steelman took over with a minute to go. Steelman threw an incomplete pass on first down, and Maples picked up nine yards on the next snap. On third-and-one, Steelman went over a tackle and blew through the secondary for a 29-yard touchdown run. Grochowski added the PAT with 45 seconds left as Army took a 34-31 advantage:

A failed drive in the final seconds for BC put the nail in the coffin, highlighted by Nate Combs catching a lateral to end the game. The I slapped on my fisheye lens and the celebration was on:

Trenton Turrentine, with a Powerade-blue tongue:

Here’s running back Julian Crockett on the right embracing his twin brother, defensive back Jordan Crockett, who was not dressed for the game. A really touching image:

Ben Jebb says what’s up to the Corps:

Richard Rainey gets some camera time:

A post-alma mater celebration. This photo got picked up by a few outlets:

Reggie Nesbit:

Stephen Ricciardi has seen some time on defense and special teams and now shares Jared Hassin’s number. Hassin, so I’ve heard, is healthy but just not seeing time on the field. Angel Santiago is on the right:

Here’s Maples soaking in the love:

Army came together to sing “On brave old Army team” after the win:

Anthony Stephens (2) and Marques Avery (16) walk off the field:

Mike Ugenyi embraces a friend:

AJ Mackey (left) catches up with Julian Holloway (42) after the win:

Finally the man himself finished a CBS TV interview and jogged off the field. I managed to get a few frames as he ran by — what a great feeling:

 

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7 comments

  1. I thought that was Mackey in the picture of Holloway.

    Great pics as usual, and congrats to you on getting off the schneid along with the team!

  2. Great work as usual. Two questions: The photo labeled ”Richard Rainey gets camera time,” is of #53 who my roster says is plebe G Matt Hugenberg. Rainey is #74.
    Also, my roster doesn’t include a #80 pictured in one of your last photos. Do you know who that is?
    Thanks, and again, you do a terrific job.

    1. Thanks! The note about Rainey is listed above the photo of him, he was listed on Army’s roster as No. 80 for Saturday’s game (numbers may change from game to game since there are so many players). Matt Hugenberg is in the previous photo, No. 53

      -D

  3. Mr. Wild, sorry for wasting your time. I should have realized the caption pertained to the photo below. And Rainey has worn #74 for his three years on the team, mostly as a special team OLineman. I guess the number change allowed him to align as an extra tight end in short-yaradge formations.

    1. No prob, thanks for checking them out!! I wasn’t sure it was him either at first, but he was the only No. 80 listed for Saturday

      -Danny

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