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Evan Lappen photo

Navy traveled to Brophy Field in Hanover, N.H. Saturday and emerged with a 19-6 victory over the Big Green. The Midshipmen scored three tries and two conversions to Dartmouth’s two penalties.

The game was a homecoming for new Navy head coach Gavin Hickie, who coached the Big Green from 2012 until taking the head job in Annapolis prior to the start of the season. His successor at Dartmouth is James Willocks, who served as Hickie’s assistant before briefly taking the head job at Penn State until Hickie left for Navy, at which time he returned to Dartmouth to pick up where Hickie left off.

“It was fantastic. Dartmouth are very, very good people. It was my home for five years, and it’s great to go back home and see a lot of the boys, see their parents, see the alums,” said Hickie.

“A little bit of an emotional day, but very happy with how we handled ourselves and how we came out of there with a good win.”   

Navy opened its account with a try from flyhalf Scott Diaz near the 15th minute. He glided through a hole and deployed a pair of stiff arms, scoring from near the attacking 22. The conversion was missed, leaving the Midshipmen up 5-0.

While Dartmouth’s lineout was money on the day, Navy owned the scrum, as evidenced by its second try. It was a Big Green put-in near Dartmouth’s defensive 22, the Midshipmen drove over the ball, and No. 8 Connor McNerney picked up from the base and ran through the defense for a score.

“Pack did a huge amount of work in the scrums in this game,” added Hickie. “That was the point. We wanted to take them on physically in the pack, so we had a lot of scrums, a lot of pick-and-goes.”

The first half was very contentious, with both teams being shown yellow cards and the score remaining close. Dartmouth got on the board via a penalty, which coupled with Navy’s second try being converted, put the tally at 12-3 going into the break.

The second half slogged on with Navy scoring a third try and Dartmouth slotting a second penalty. Dartmouth had some attacking chances, but the physicality of the Midshipmen routinely turned the hosts back.

“There wasn’t a lot of finesse from us today,” said Hickie. “It was quite a lot of bludgeoning work.”

Navy moves to 2-0 under Hickie, while Dartmouth falls to 4-1. Up next for the Midshipmen is a home match against Notre Dame College, while the Big Green return to Ivy League action against Brown on Oct. 28.