The Navy football team conducted its final rite of spring today, the annual Blue-White game before a sparse crowd at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The fans were treated to a cloudless afternoon, 60 minutes of football and their first glimpse of star running back Napoleon McCallum in game action since he broke his ankle in the second game last season.
McCallum rushed for 47 yards on 10 carries as his White team defeated the Blue, 20-6.
Coach Gary Tranquill did not seem displeased with anything in particular. Rather, he seemed genuinely happy to end the game with no injuries.
"I was mostly concerned with getting this game over without anyone getting hurt," Tranquill said. "It's very hard to establish continuity when you split the squads. Plus, we haven't practiced since last Wednesday."
Chuck Smith (seven carries, 30 yards) of the White scored from one yard in the first quarter to open the scoring. Blue fullback John Berner's 10-yard run in the second quarter brought his team within 7-6, but the extra-point attempt failed.
Smith and the Berner were both impressive at fullback, trying to win the job to pair with tailback McCallum.
"Smith and Berner are both good players, and I was pleased with both their efforts today," said Tranquill. Obviously, no decisions will be made until the fall.
The White scored again before the half. Quarterback John Nobers' third-down pass fell incomplete with nine seconds left, but the Blue was called for holding. On the next play, Nobers rolled left and hit Mike Ray in the corner of the end zone.
The White's final score came on one of the game's most exciting plays. Quarterback Steve Rife was about to be sacked well behind the line of scrimmage, but managed to shake free, break two tackles and go 24 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Leonard Armstrong led the Blue rushers with 43 yards on seven carries. Quarterback Bill Byrne was 10 for 23 with one interception.
At halftime, offensive guard Chris Castelli was presented the William P. Mack Award for the most improved player in the spring. Vice Admiral Mack was on hand to give the award.