Greg Papajohn hauled in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Fred Retzel early in the fourth quarter to lift the Blue team to a 13-10 victory over the Gold in Navy's spring football game today at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Papajohn's only catch of the hour intrasquad scrimmage came one play after the split end had dropped an apparent Retzel scoring toss. Retzel, a converted safety, completed only three of 14 passes for 53 yards.
"Our passing game looks bad right now," said Navy Coach George Welsh. "We've got a ways to go with our quarterbacks. We have some talent at that spot. Retzel is an excellent athlete and can throw and run the ball well.
"With three of your first four wide receivers out, it makes it tough for the quarterbacks. Our defense has been ahead of the offense all spring. We're just missing so many people."
For the first three quarters the Gold team controlled play and, thanks to an 80-yard pass-run by tight end Curt Gainer and a 43-yard field goal by Steve Fehr, they led 10-6 going into the fourth quarter. But the Blue team took advantage of a Gold mistake on a punt and regained controled at the Gold 35-yard line.
Two running plays and a Chris Yelder reception moved the ball to the 22 before Retzel passed to Papajohn in the right corner of the end zone. However, the split end bobled the ball as he went out of bounds and it was ruled no catch.
Retzel called the same play again and this time Papajohn held on for the touchdown. Dave Guin, who booted field goals of 38 and 40 yards converted the extra point to give the Blue a 13-10 lead with 9:32 left.
Welsh was pleased with the performance despite not having 14 of last year's starters or top reserves because of injuries.
"We're not real good as a team and our execution on offense is pretty poor," Welsh said. "We just played basic defense but we had some good individual performances."
Gainer, given the William P. Mack award for the most improved player in spring practice, grabbed three passes for 104 yards. Duane Flowers picked up 31 yards rushing on 15 carries while Bruce McGeorge had 24 yards on 10 tries. Tony Colao, under heavy pressure from a Ted Dumbauldled defense, completed only five of 16 passes for 79 yards.
Tailback Mike Sherlock, who missed the last six games last year and the first two weeks of spring practice because of a hamstring injury, ran tentatively, picking up only 17 yards on eight carries. He strained his foot in the first half and sat out the remainder of the game. His first option pass attempt in four years was a beauty as he found Gainer open at the 30. The tight end ran untouched into the end zone.
Eddie Meyers was the game's leading rusher with 77 yards on 22 carries. The Gold totaled 261 yards to 216 for the Blue.