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Army Navy Football

1960 Army Navy


1960: Army vs Navy

By RABBLE
Date: Mar 11, 2003

The following article was written the day after the Army team took the Navy down to the wire in a most thrilling Army-Navy games of that era. Navy prevailed that year, 17-12. Described by the Dean of New York sports writers, Red Smith (1905-1982), he aptly describes the exciting action in his exclusive column.

RED SMITH

The Slasher

Philadelphia, November, 26, 1960—–The first time they gave Joe Bellino the ball, Army’s John Ellerson leaped upon his sternum and spread him out like apple butter 14pon the painted meadow of Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium The second time, he faked a quick-kick, spun to run to his left, and was hit from behind by a runaway beer truck named Bob McCarthy.

On his third try he did no better, and up in the press box and said, ” Army’ll beat this team.” Just then Bellino took the ball again. He shot through a gap near the middle of Army’s line, veered to the left on a long slant through the secondary, and raced 58 yards before George Kirschenbauer hauled him down on the Army 42-yard line. Navy was off and rolling in the 61st engagement of its Seventy Years’ War with the football paladins of West Point.

That first daring dash by the swift and stumpy marauder from the Severn didn’t lead directly to a score, but in one stroke it changed the complexion of the struggle from Gray to Navy Blue. Taking the opening kickoff, Navy was smashed flat by the same clamoring Cadets who had smeared the dangerous runners of Syracuse and Pitt earlier this season. Then a punt by Army’s Paul Stanley pinned the Sailors down a yard from their own goal line.

76,87,62,64,27,16 — Ball & Middie are on the ground to rear of 76

Kuhns, Ellerson, Vanderbush, Casp, Blumhardt, Adams

There was Navy staring glumly down the throat of a howitzer, and then Bellino busted loose. Before the first quarter was over, Navy was in front, 6-0. At intermission the score was 17-0, and 98,616 witnesses had a premonition that this might degenerate into another rabbit-hunt like Navy’s 43-12 gambol last year.

85 Zmuida, 27 Blumhardt, 62 Casp

Early Errors Nobody could foresee the heroics which the second half would produce, the wild excursions and alarums, the mounting tension as Army came clawing back in a frantic struggle against the stubborn foe on the field and the coldly impartial clock hung up against a bright blue sky.

At halftime it seemed a shabby show, in spite of the mildest, loveliest weather this production had enjoyed in years, in spite of all the elegant trappings of traditional pageantry, in spite of the exciting presence of the admirable Bellino.

Left to right 31,86, 62, 75, 55, 77, 40, 45, 50, 27, 64, 89, 44

Army had messed it up early through mental and mechanical error. After the Cadets smothered Navy’s first action and forced a punt, Joe Blackgrove unwisely tried to field the bouncing kick with his back to an advancing horde. Smashed from behind, he fumbled away Army’s first chance to attack.

Stanley’s fine punt, repaired that damage, and after Bellino’s long run took the ball into Army territory, the military braced and Navy tried a fourth-down field goal which Greg Mather missed. So it was still a scoreless game, but on the very next play Al Rushatz, the West Point fullback, fumbled the ball back to Navy, Needing 23 yards for a touchdown, Navy got ’em fast, Bellino slanting over for the last four wearing Kirschenbauer like a stole across his shoulders.

Up off the Rug

THERE never was another one-piece play like Bellino’s big run, but in the second quarter he was a constant menace, butting the middle for short yardage and slipping outside the tackles to wriggle like a brook trout through congested traffic. With Joe running and Hal Spooner passing handsomely, Navy pushed down into scoring range again and Mather made the score 9-0 with a 26-yard field goal.

As the first half sifted away, the Midshipmen put on still another foray, once more with Spooner passing and Bellino carrying. With 17 seconds remaining, the quarterback threw to Jim Luper, who fell across the goal line with Bill Sipos hanging on. Trapped trying to pass for two extra points, Bellino flipped the ball back to Spooner, who ran for the 16th and 17th points.

Navy seemed In complete control. The Army attack, such as it had been, offered little to cheer the 2,400 Cadets in the stands. West Point backs couldn’t seem to get traction on tile dyed green grass, kept falling before they reached the line of scrimmage. Even the fire of the Army defense seemed damped after Navy’s first touchdown.

Something happened between halves, though. The third quarter opened, and it was a different game. With Tom Blanda’s passes complementing the rushes of Rushatz, Glen Adams and Kirschenbauer, Army drove for one touchdown and almost immediately set out after another. Again misfortune balked the Cadets; a penalty for having an inengible receiver downfield on a pass play slowed one drive, and the score was still 17-6 when the last period began.

Last Curtain

The jubilant Midshipmen on the stadium’s west slope had just about had it. Now and then they whooped and brandished white caps aloft, but mostly they sat transfixed, watching and praying, Dick Eckert, Army’s second quarterback, engineered a solid advance that Rushatz consummated with a dive into the end zone. Now it was 17-12 with nine minutes remaining for Army to chew at a five-point lead. Navy stopped a drive, then fumbled, Rushatz recovered for Army, 17 yards from victory. Yard by yard, cuddling the line for short gains, Army ground ahead to the 6-yard line. There a hasty lateral got loose, rolled back to the Navy 20. Blanda passed and missed, passed and missed again. The clock showed 1:55 remaining when his last throw fell incomplete and Navy took the ball.

The contest was over, needing only a final theatrical flourish. There was a guy on hand to furnish just that. Guy named Bellino. Unable to run out the clock, Navy punted to midfield. Blanda wound up for the last prayerful shot, took aim on Blackgrove and fired. Bellino got in front of the receiver, picked off the ball on the goal line and went swirling 45 yards back to safety as the curtain came down.

Charles R Monk Meyer

Heisman Trophy runner-up 1935, College Football Hall Of Fame 1987

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1935

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1936

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“Pound for pound, there were few backs more threatening in a broken field than Army’s Monk Meyer.”

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From Go Army Sports:

Class of 1937
Football/Basketball/Lacrosse

Charles “Monk” Meyer earned a pair of varsity letters in football, three in basketball and one in lacrosse during a stellar athletic career at West Point. He finished second in the initial Heisman Trophy voting to Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago and retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of Brigadier General.

Meyer received the Silver Anniversary Award from Sports Illustrated in 1961 and collected the Gold Medal Award from the National Football Foundation 1987.

As a standout quarterback, Meyer helped Army to a 28-6 victory over Navy in 1935 at Philadelphia’s Franklin Field and played in the 1937 College All-Star Game. Among Meyer’s single-game highlights was a 172-yard passing performance during a 27-16 victory opposite Columbia and future National Football League Hall of Fame quarterback Sid Luckman in 1936.

Meyer helped Army to six wins in each of his two seasons.

On the hardwood, Meyer earned three varsity letters. He served as team captain in 1937 and contributed to squads that posted a combined 24-18 record, including a pair of wins opposite service academy rival Navy.

Meyer was also a member of Army’s lacrosse team and earned a varsity letter in 1937. The Black Knights finished 9-1 that season and ended the year with a 6-5 victory at Navy. Wins against Hobart, Yale, Syracuse, Penn State and Johns Hopkins also highlighted the campaign.

‘Monk’ Meyer: From Allentown and West Point gridiron to heroism on the battlefield
Allentown High alumnus led Army against Notre Dame 75 years ago this week.
November 16, 2010|By Evan Burian
Allentown Morning Call – Nov 16, 2010

When Army and Notre Dame meet for the 50th time on Saturday in the new Yankee Stadium in New York, all the history and lore that surround this colorful collegiate rivalry will spring to life.

“Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame” with the legendary George Gipp in 1919 and 1920. Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen of 1924 and Grantland Rice’s classic lead to his story on the game, “Outlined against a blue, gray, October sky the Four Horsemen rode again.” And Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne’s inspirational halftime “Win one for the Gipper” pep talk in 1928 that resulted in an upset Irish victory.

“On, Brave Old Army Team” with coach Earl “Red” Blaik’s powerful and undefeated war-time machine led by Doc Blanchard “Mr. Inside” and Glenn Davis “Mr. Outside” of 1944-46. It was when three All-Americans — halfbacks Pete Dawkins, Bob Anderson and Northampton’s Bob Novogratz at guard — led a Black Knight conquest in 1958.

And 75 years ago this year in the 1935 contest, it was Allentown’s Charles “Monk” Meyer of Army whose name was added to this golden honor roll.

Although small in stature at 5-9 and 150 pounds, and looking more like the team’s student manager, “Monk” Meyer was indeed a West Point football star. And like many other Army graduates, he went on to display heroism on the battlefield for his country.

Charles Robert “Monk” Meyer played football, basketball and baseball at Allentown High School for the nationally recognized coach, J. Birney Crum. As a single-wing halfback in 1930, Meyer was the club’s top scorer with 12 touchdowns as he helped the Canaries to a perfect 11-0 season.

The Canary and Blue juggernaut rolled up 338 points that season while giving up only 18. The Morning Call headlined Meyer’s exploits after the Thanksgiving Day triumph over Bethlehem as “Little, But Oh My!”

As the son of Lt. Col. Hermie Meyer and born at West Point, N.Y., on May 1, 1911, “Monk” was tagged by birth and tradition to serve his country with a career in the military.

Monk grew up at various Army bases throughout the nation and even in the Philippines as his father received assignments during his military career. The Meyer family relocated to the Lehigh Valley area in time for Monk to play football, basketball and baseball at Allentown High.

After leaving Allentown High, Meyer prepped at Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill Academy and entered West Point in 1933 as a player who could run, pass, kick and play defense. For two seasons, 1935 and 1936, the “150-pound Mighty Mite” was the big gun of the Army attack for coach Gar Davidson.

Touchdown pass

In 1935 against Notre Dame before a capacity crowd of 78,114 in Yankee Stadium, it was Meyer’s 41-yard first-quarter TD pass and stellar performance in a 6-6 tie that brought him into the limelight. The press recognition eventually led to his All-American mention and then to his being named runner-up to the University of Chicago’s Jay Berwanger in the first-ever Heisman Trophy vote that year.

However, Meyer’s fondest memory of the season was the stalemate with the Fighting Irish and what happened after the game. Meyer said he was resting by the locker-room door when someone started knocking on it. Opening the door, Meyer was startled to see Notre Dame head coach Elmer Layden, one of the immortal Four Horsemen, along with Irish players.

Layden said, “Hey kid, go get Monk Meyer, we want to congratulate him on the great game he played against us.”

When the stunned Meyer replied that he was Monk Meyer, Layden continued, “Look kid, we’re not fooling around, we want to talk to Monk Meyer.’ “

Meyer then called over some of his teammates to verify to Layden that he indeed was Monk Meyer.

All the astonished Layden could mutter while looking at the smallish Meyer was, “Gee whiz.”

In 1936, Monk had another big day in Yankee Stadium. This time the Army ace outdueled famed Columbia passer and future Chicago Bear Hall of Fame quarterback Sid Luckman as the Black Knights prevailed, 27-16, over the Lions.

A pair of football shoes

In the book, “Coach Birney Crum and Allentown High,” attorney Ray Brennen, Meyer’s Allentown High classmate and lifelong friend, said of him: “He almost didn’t have a football career at Army let alone the resulting fame and honors because he was just one of over a hundred players trying out for the team when he got to West Point and a little guy to boot.

“It was Birney who got Monk a pair of football shoes that fit him properly so he could show his running skills, and it was Birney, while watching practice, who told the Army coaches to take Monk off the fifth team and put him in with the first unit to show them that he could get the job done.”

Meyer graduated from West Point in 1937 and led troops in the Pacific Theater under the overall command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur during World War II and again in Korea, and was wounded twice.

Among the numerous decorations he received were two Silver Stars and, for “extraordinary heroism,” the Distinguished Service Cross. It is the second-highest decoration in the United States, just below the Medal of Honor.