ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Army claimed the first star in the Star Series presented by USAA in a thrilling 17-14 win over Navy in sprint football on Friday.
The two sides scored a combined 31 points in the final 30 minutes of the game after going into halftime scoreless. Army tied the game twice with a pair of Keegan West touchdown passes to Tom Williamson before rookie kicker Seppi Ortman put the Black Knights ahead for good with a 17-yard field goal.
A fourth-down interception by Onorino Tamburri sealed the game for the Cadets as the visitors defeated Navy for the second consecutive year following last season's 40-6 win.
Williamson led the Black Knights' offense with a game-high six receptions for 85 yards and two touchdowns, serving as West's favorite target throughout the night. The West Point, N.Y., native excelled from under center for the second week in a row, going 27-for-37 for 248 yards and two scores. He added 24 yards on five carries.
Defensively, Tate Blessinger tallied a team-high 14 tackles and a tackle for loss. NeVonte Dean and Zach Lechthaler both chipped in with a pair of sacks, while Tamburri caused the only turnover of the game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Both teams came out with strong defensive efforts, allowing just 109 total yards off offense.
Army earned the only scoring chance of the first 15 minutes with a 33-yard field goal on its first drive, but the kick missed.
Navy had a pair of scoring chances in the second quarter, but was unable to convert on either of them.
The first sailed wide left from 44 yards before Desmond Young came off the edge and blocked a 32-yard attempt with 36 seconds remaining in the half.
After a scoreless first half, the two teams exploded for 21 combined points in the third quarter.
The home side opened the scoring with an 81-yard touchdown pass from Walt Fagan to J.T. Thompson.
Army responded on the following drive with a 35-yard connection from West to Williamson to even the score at seven apiece.
Navy landed the next blow with a six-yard scamper by Fagan, which was set up by a successful fake punt by the Mids that went for 24 yards.
The familiar duo of West and Williamson once again tied the game for the Black Knights after a 21-yard score with 14:16 remaining in the contest.
Ortman gave Army its first lead of the contest at 17-14 with a 17-yard field goal with just less than five minutes remaining.
Tamburri came up with his first-career interception on a 4th-and-10 play in the final minute of the game to seal the victory for Army.
ARMY HIGHLIGHTS AND GAME NOTES
Army won back-to-back Star Games for the first time since 2012-13.
The Black Knights allowed fewer than 20 points to Navy for the third straight year, the first such streak since 1999-2000.
Army's 10-game winning streak is its longest since 2012-14 when the team won 20 consecutive games.
Head coach Mark West won his 55th career game with the Cadets.
Keegan West passed for more than 200 yards for the eighth time in his career and second straight game.
Tom Williamson recorded his third-career multi-touchdown game.
Onorino Tamburri hauled in his first-career interception to seal the game for Army.