The Army Black Knights won an emotional game over the weekend to improve to 3-0. The win was overshadowed by the continued mourning of the death of cornerback Brandon Jackson. Now, for the remainder of the 2016 college football season, Army’s football players will wear a memorial sticker on their football helmets.
Jackson, a starting cornerback for the Black Knights, was killed in a car accident in the early morning hours on September 11. Early police reports suggested Jackson’s car hit a guard rail and flipped over. Jackson was pronounced dead on the scene as first responders arrived on the scene.
“We will honor his life as we mourn the untimely death of a young man who had a promising future as a leader in service to our nation.” said Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., West Point superintendent in a statement. “Brandon internalized our watch words, Duty, Honor, Country.”
In addition to the sticker on the football helmets, coaches will also have Jackson’s No. 28 stitched into their hats on the sideline.
Jackson, a native of Queens, N.Y. and a starter who picked off three passes in his career, made three tackles and broke up a pass in Army’s 31-14 win over Rice on Saturday. Army is off to its best start in 20 years after beating Temple and Rice to begin the season.
“Words cannot describe the grief that our team is feeling over the loss of our brother and friend, Brandon,” Army head coach Jeff Monken said in a statement. “He was a beloved teammate and our hearts are with his family at this time of tragedy.”
“We will honor his life as we mourn the untimely death of a young man who had a promising future as a leader in service to our nation.” said Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., West Point superintendent in a statement, via the Times Herald-Record. “Brandon internalized our watch words, Duty, Honor, Country.”
All three service academies 2-0 for first time in two decades
In the six decades that Air Force has been playing FBS football, the academies have never started a season a collective 9-0. In 1958, however, the trio was undefeated as Army and Navy went 3-0 while Air Force went 2-0-1 to begin that season.
Air Force, Army and Navy will look to reach that historic triple trifecta against Utah State, UTEP and Tulane, respectively, in their next games (the latter two’s next game is Week 3, the former’s in Week 4). This start also sets up, potentially, a very competitive chase for a highly sought after piece of hardware.
The Falcons will play host to the Midshipmen two weeks from today, then travel to the Black Knights the first weekend of November. Army and Navy, of course, will square off in their annual stand-alone game the final weekend of the 2016 regular season.
Navy has won 10 of the last 13 Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy, while Air Force has won nine the last 19. Army hasn’t claimed the trophy since 1996.
Advocacy group complains, gets Army to edit postgame celebration video that featured prayer
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is at it again.
In December of last year, the advocacy group, which opposes proselytizing in the military, filed an official complaint with the Air Force Academy regarding its football program. Specifically, the group took issue with members of the academy’s football team’s pregame tradition of kneeling in the end zone prior to and after games, holding hands and praying.
Fastforward nine months, and the same group has lodged yet another complaint to a service academy over the issue of prayer and football.
Following Army’s win over Temple, the program posted a video online of the locker-room celebration that included head coach Jeff Monken asking an assistant to “conduct a prayer that ended with Jesus,” the Associated Press reported. MRFF’s president told the AP he was “‘inundated’ with phone calls, texts and emails, including 44 from West Point graduates, 40 members of the academy faculty and staff, and six football players.” That “inundation” triggered a call to West Point’s superintendent, which subsequently triggered the video being edited to remove the prayer — but not an “amen.”
“In this case, Coach Monken chose the wrong time, the wrong place and the wrong manner,” Mikey Weinstein, MRFF head, told the AP. “He can’t tell anybody, put your hand on someone and let’s pray. You can’t do it, particularly when you’re the head coach (of a public school).”
It’s expected that Monken will issue a public apology over the incident as the coach’s boss, athletic director Boo Corrigan, is in the process of putting procedures in place to prevent another occurrence.
Ahmad Bradshaw reverses course, set to start at QB for Army
Remember when Ahmad Bradshaw (not the former Giants and Colts running back) was set to leave West Point? Bradshaw changed his mind, and now he’s set to be the Black Knights’ starting quarterback.
Head coach Jeff Monken told the Times Herald-Record that Bradshaw was “likely” to start, but that both he and sophomore Chris Carter could see action.
Carter sustained a hamstring injury Aug. 1 and didn’t return to the practice field until Aug. 17.
“He’s (Bradshaw) so far ahead in the repetitions that he has taken,” Monken told the paper. “It’s hard when you miss the first couple weeks of camp. There’s 14 or 15 practices that you are standing there watching the other guys getting all of the reps.”
Bradshaw led Army last season with 429 passing yards and led Black Knights quarterbacks with 468 rushing yards last fall. Carter garnered a start against Navy last season and hit 9-of-15 passes for 208 yards with a touchdown and an interception in Army’s 21-17 loss.
“He’ll (Carter) come around and the more that he practices, the better he’s going to get and the more prepared he’s going to be,” Monken said. “That’s when I think we’ll see the battle and who the guy is that’s got to continue. Once you get playing, it’s hard to beat out the starter because he’s got more experience and has played more. I think Ahmad has handled it well.”