BOULDER, Colo. – The Army Black Knights won the Rugby East title last season behind the leadership and play of Rugby East Forward of the Year Collum Magee. After Magee graduated at the end of the season, a new player needed to step up into the captain role. There is no shortage of leaders at West Point, one of the premier leadership institutions in the world, but finding a player that could lead such accomplished young men could be a challenge, and it is one of the many reasons that the September Rugby East Player of the Month goes to Army Forward’s Captain Donny Goff.
Army rolled over their first two Rugby East opponents, beating Buffalo, 48-0, and St. Bonaventure, 55-0. Goff, Army’s loose-head prop, scored a try in the game against Buffalo, and anchors the front line for the Black Knights.
Army’s game against Wheeling Jesuit provided more of a challenge. After the cadets scored 25 unanswered points, the Cardinals stormed back to within a try with 19 minutes left in the game. Army would go on to win the game, 35-23, thanks to a try by scrumhalf Jake Banarhall. The leadership of Goff helped the team overcome the deficit, as well as learn from it.
“Our last match against Wheeling Jesuit was a good test for us,” said Goff. “It identified a lot of things that we need to refine in order to be competitive at the national stage for the remainder of the year.”
“Donny is a leader in every aspect of his life, he constantly strives to achieve his best and improve his standard in everything he does,” said Army Head Coach Matt Sherman. “It’s no different on the rugby field where Donny works hard to get the most out of himself and the team.”
Even through all of his hard work, Goff is ready to give credit for all his teammates for the team’s success. Teammates Andrew Fargo, Cameron Hargis, Thomas Del Pino, Peter Basnight, and the rest of the Army squad has flourished under Goff and Sherman this season.
“I accept this nomination on behalf of the entire program, not just myself because the entire team has contributed to the success thus far in the season,” said Goff. “I have been very impressed by players all over the field for their actions on the pitch and off. Army Rugby is a very self-reliant organization and with the high level of coaching that we receive, I do not have to micro-manage the other 14 guys on the field. We all know our roles. I go out there, do my job, and ensure that everyone else is doing theirs. We all contribute something to the match, I just provide a bit of leadership when it is needed.”
Army will need to be prepared for this weekend, as they travel to State College to take on No. 8 Penn State for one of their toughest tests of the season.