There were rumors floating around Michie Stadium on Friday afternoon that Army would start the season with a pass on the first play. Army? Passing? Yeah, right. And after a defensive stop on the season’s first drive, Army struck when junior QB Angel Santiago dropped back and connected on the first play of the season.
Army kept it up, scoring 21 points in the first half and holding on to beat Morgan State, 28-12, in the 2013 season opener on Friday night in West Point.
“Angel did some great stuff,” Army head coach Rich Ellerson said, winning a season opener for the third time in five seasons at West Point. “The best thing about Angel’s performance was, the ball’s not on the ground. We took some chances for the ball to be on the ground, he took some shots, and the ball goes through his hands on every snap. That kind of play at quarterback will give you a great chance.”
The game was only the 10th night game in 89 years at Michie Stadium and showcased an Army team that looked younger, passed more, played well on defense and sported a slightly updated uniform.
Below is some of my perspective from the game. Early on, I snapped this portrait of Hayden Pierce during pregame warmups:
The weather was nice (at least to jump, it was crazy humid) so I mingled with the cadets and caught some of the parachute team jumpers above:
Here’s the jumper who had the game ball (not the actual one used on the kickoff, but it’s presented to the refs for the coin toss:
Army takes the field with the 1st Infantry Division flag. FB Hayden Tippett carried the American flag. I believe that’s the Dean on the far right. A nice moment here as well, if you look closely at the middle of this photo (click it to view larger) you’ll see Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter running out with the team. SSG Carter was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama earlier in the week, and he was later recognized in a moment during the game:
Morgan State a historically black college in Baltimore, Maryland that I was not familiar with until this game. I ended up providing their Athletics staff with some images from the game as well.
Thomas Holloway is one of Army’s new captains:
Geoffery Bacon had a big game with a dozen tackles:
Santiago rolled out the Heisman pose on his very first play:
Here’s Bacon getting his helmet ripped off on a tackle:
Joe Drummond (54) reacts after a sack:
Army coach Rich Ellerson looks like he’s about to explode while watching the offense work:
Patrick Laird jokes with a teammate:
Here’s SSG Carter during a media timeout on the field in which he was acknowledge by fans:
SSG Carter is one of two Medal of Honor recipients who is still on active duty.
Here’s Bobby Kough. You’ll notice here I played with my camera’s white balance to find something I liked. This came off much cooler and flatter, I thought:
Whereas this setting produced a warmer hue that played out the gold in the helmets and crowd I thought:
Halftime came with the marching band, mules and eventually fireworks at Michie:
I didn’t have much time to shoot the fireworks as I wanted to run to the media room and file images for USA Today Sports:
Earlier in the first half I was itching to shoot the (rare) sunset at Michie from the top of the East stands, but Army’s offense was so efficient, I couldn’t sneak away and risk missing the action. Instead, I snapped this with my second camera body:
Ryan Powis looks over at the sidelines for a play:
Here’s Kyle Maxwell reacting to a big Army defensive stop:
Finally, the alma mater and celebration photos. I only had a chance for two of these occasions last year (Boston College and Air Force) so it was nice to get this shot on Day 1. The stadium lights added a nice glow to the background and contrast to the night sky:
A similar shot from this sequence was featured in ESPN.com’s Best of Week 1 photo gallery:
Captain Momo Kime celebrates the win with the Corps:
Lamar Johnson-Harris celebrates the win:
Here’s Holloway, post-game: