Varsity Football Digs In and Delivers Extraordinary Win on Military Appreciation Night

Military Appreciation Night at the Wynne-Darden Stadium brought out the fighting spirit in the Bulldogs, who defeated the Collegiate School Cougars 36-35 for the first time since 1997.

The game had an astonishing final quarter. The Cougars scored a touchdown to take the lead 28-21 early in the quarter: Norfolk Academy scored on a pass from quarterback Drew Duffy ’20 to David Byler ’19, briefly tying the score with 3:25 remaining. The Cougars responded to take the lead at 35-28, leaving just 1:19 on the clock.

The Bulldogs weren’t done: Landon Porter took it in for a touchdown, and the 2 point conversion was good—with 17 seconds left, the Bulldogs were ahead 36-35. The Cougars made one final attempt: a 35-yard field goal fell short, and a truly epic contest came to a conclusion, as the fans stormed the field.

“That was one of the finest football games I have seen in my 18 years as headmaster,” Mr. Dennis Manning told students at the end of Upper School Chapel, as he led a clap-out of the football team.

For Head Coach Steve Monninger, the game was a reflection of the team’s motto this year, emblazoned on its practice jerseys. "Our motto this year is '1-0,' and no matter what happens in the previous game, we simply put the focus on ourselves and get back to work,” he said. “Our commitment to preparation has translated to resilience on the field and the players are very proud of that."

The win came on a night that offered a powerful reminder of the sacrifice and service made by many in the Norfolk Academy family through service in the nation’s military. The coin-toss was done by Joe Robinson, a former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant and proud “M-1 Tanker,” who has served for 30 years as a member of the school’s maintenance staff.

Senior parents who have served in the military came onto the field for the coin toss:

Dr. Jared Brooks (father of Will)
Commander Ray Fitzgerald, USN (Retired), (father of Ray)
Mr. Michael Furchtenicht, (father of Ben)
Dr. Scott Hines, Commander, USN (Retired) (father of Johnny)
Lieutenant Commander Perry Suttle, USN (Retired) (father of Zach)

Commander John Looney, USN (Retired) (father of Colin), and Lieutenant Commander (SEAL) James A. Smith, USN (Retired) (father of Michael) were unable to attend, but they were recognized by announcer Toy Savage.

At halftime, the announcer recognized an array of additional teachers, coaches and parents who are serving or have served in the military:

Mr. Witt Borum, USN
Mr. Neil Duffy, USN
Dr. Scott Hines, Commander, USN (Retired)
Rear Admiral (SEAL) H. Wyman Howard III, USN
Colonel David Lopez, USAF
Commander Bernie McMahon, USN (Retired)
Mrs. Cynthia Moss
Mr. Brian Moss
Mr. Nick Rahall, USMC
LCDR (SEAL) James A. Smith, USN (Retired)
Mr. Jay Traywick
Mr. Earl Ware

The announcer included a special appreciation for the great-grandfather of Senior Jabril Lewis, Retired U.S. Navy First Class Petty Officer Calvin Lee Foxworth.

What a great night for the Bulldogs!