Maurice Bellan names a long list of his Army football teammates that he’s built lasting friendships with in his four years.
Bellan says his connections with graduated players, including Malkelm Morrison, still remains strong.
“Up and down the gray line, there’s bonds that last forever,” Bellan said.
Bellan and 18 other Army seniors close a chapter in their football careers Saturday, playing their final game at Michie Stadium against UConn.
The senior class is one that will be remembered. 2022 captains Connor Bishop and Marquel Broughton, quarterback Tyhier Tyler and wide receiver Cole Caterbone were starters on the team that clinched the Commander in Chief’s trophy by beating Air Force during the 2020 COVID season.
The class also includes linebacker Andre Carter, Army’s first all-American since 1990 and highly-projected NFL draft pick.
This season has gone nothing like Army planned. The Black Knights are 3-6 with three games to play. Senior safety D’Andre Tobias says Army’s record doesn’t define this team or this senior class.
“Looking back on it, wins and losses are always going to be there, but to know the guys you are doing it with pushed themselves with everything they could and we worked every single day to be who we are today.” Tobias said. “ I’m never going to sit back and regret how hard we worked and the guys I did it with and the love that everybody had for each other while we did it is the biggest thing.”
Tobias points to Broughton’s leadership the last three seasons. When Broughton was officially ruled out after pregame warmups at Troy last week, he took a headset and helped the defense get into checkdowns and post one of its best games of the season.
Defensive coordinator Nate Woody said Broughton has impacted coaches as well as players in his four seasons at West Point. As for Broughton’s availability Saturday, Woody said, “I don’t think wild horses could keep him off the field this week.”
“We are looking forward to him being honored at his senior day and I don’t see any way in the world that you can keep him off the field,” Woody said Wednesday. “I hope the doctors will agree with me.”
Home games are “a surreal experience,” Bellan said. The atmosphere includes more than 4,000 Corps of Cadets, the helicopter flyovers and the parachute jumping.
Bellan and Army’s seniors plan on leaving it all out at Michie Stadium one last time.
“Everyone wants to go out with a bang, go out and give it our all and fight to the end,” Bellan said. “We are a team full of fighters and we are just going to fight until the end and we are going to ride as one and go out because we love each other.”