Midshipmen 1957 - 1958
(Authentic Reproduction)


The '57 team was very much like the "Team Named Desire" of '54 but perhaps better, especially on defense where Bob Reifsnider, switched from tackle to center and back to tackle. He also got to play his high school defensive position of linebacker where he was all over the field and was named to a number of All American teams and won the Maxwell Trophy as the nation's best player, the first time a guard or tackle had won that prestigious award. QB Tom Forrestal also was an All American and Academic All American in leading the squad to a 9-1-1 record, the Lambert Trophy as Eastern Champions, and a Cotton Bowl berth where they bested powerful Rice, 20-7. Beating a Bob Anderson-Pete Dawkins Army team 14-0 in the regular-season wrap-up with their new Wing-T offense may have been more rewarding and the team was excited with an unexpected switch to powder-blue jerseys with gold numerals prior to the Army kickoff. Team captain HB Ned Oldham was an All East performer and led the team in scoring with sixty-nine points. At the start of the season, Coach Erdelatz made an addition to the plain gold helmets with dark navy blue two-and-a-half inch medium rounded style side numerals that were placed on both sides of the helmet, a style that was worn throughout the 1957 and 58 seasons. In 1958, the squad tailed-off to a 6-3 season amid worsening relations between Erdelatz and the Navy brass. Part of the problem was the coach's insistence of trying to keep his players separate from the rest of the Academy and its daily duties, giving special favors which caused dissension through the ranks. Also, actively courting the available Texas A&M job after the 1957 Cotton Bowl victory over Rice was seen as an act of disloyalty that would not be forgotten. QB Joe Tranchini completed fifty-seven percent of his throws and eleven TD's and soph HB Joe Bellino was an immediate sensation despite a knee injury. Tackle and linebacker Reifsnider was again an All American before a knee injury limited him, and after being denied a service commission because of the injury, played for the new AFL N.Y. Titans in 1960 and '61. "Reef's" fierce play earned him entry to The College Football Hall Of Fame and he became a successful football coach at a number of Long Island high schools.

If interested in any of these Navy helmets please click on the photos below.