The game was over, and it was time for Navy to celebrate its 13th consecutive victory over Army.
After the Midshipmen stood respectfully for Army's alma mater, defensive ends Paul Quessenberry and Will Anthony hoisted
Niumatalolo (56-35) ended a tie with George Welsh for most victories at Navy and became the first to win his first seven games against Army.
Asked about his awkward jaunt aboard the two players, Niumatalolo said, "I tried to get down. I have so much respect for Army, I didn't want to upstage anyone."
The streak remained intact because of Navy's unrelenting defense and quarterback Keenan Reynolds' versatility.
After Army (4-8) turned a blocked punt into a touchdown in the first quarter, the Midshipmen used the passing of Reynolds to pull even at halftime. Navy (7-5) then took a 10-7 lead before Reynolds scored on a one-yard run with 12 minutes 7 seconds to play.
Reynolds had 100 yards in 26 carries and completed six of eight passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.
The 13-game run by Navy is the longest in the history of a series that began in 1890. Before the Midshipmen went on the streak, neither team had won more than five games in a row in the series. First-year Coach Jeff Monken became the sixth Army coach to lose to Navy during the streak.
"It's not as if you carry points over from one year to the next," Niumatalolo said. "It is a heck of a run, and you have to give credit to a lot of players and coaches."
Navy leads the series, 59-49-7.
"I'm certainly disappointed to play as hard as we did and not see our players win, especially the seniors," Monken said.
After scoring a touchdown late in the first half to tie the score, 7-7, Navy opened the third quarter with a 41-yard kickoff return by Ryan Williams-Jenkins. That led to a 45-yard field goal by Austin Grebe for a 10-7 lead.
Army wasted a 50-yard drive, moving to the Navy 30 before Daniel Grochowski hooked a field-goal try to the left.
Reynolds directed a 12-play march that lasted nearly eight minutes and ended with the 5-foot-11 junior bulling over the goal line for a 10-point cushion.
A possession that moved Navy to the Navy 38 ended with a fumble by quarterback A.J. Schurr. A 52-yard field goal by Grochowski made it 17-10 with 1:51 left, but Navy recovered the ensuing onside kick.
The Cadets went up, 7-0, holding Navy to four yards on its first series before Josh Jenkins blocked a punt and Xavier Moss scooped up the ball and sprinted seven yards into the end zone.
Navy senior Pablo Beltran never had a punt blocked before that play — it was his 151st kick — and it marked the first time since 2009 that Army scored first against the Midshipmen.