On Saturday December 3rd, the longest running college football feud was continued: the Army-Navy game. The Navy Midshipmen took a one game lead in the 105-year tradition with their 42-23 win over the Army Black Knights in Philadelphia.
Army kept the game close during the first half. Before Navy senior quarterback Lamar Owens and the nations best rushing offense went to work and blew open the game. The Midshipmen’s offense scored two consecutive rushing touchdowns during the last five minutes of the half and went into halftime leading 21-10.
After halftime the Navy’s offense didn’t look back, scoring three more times on their way to their third straight victory over Army.
The Army-Navy game started in 1890 and before game the series was tied with 49 wins each. Saturday’s win made Navy the first of the three service academies to reach 50 wins.
The game is usually played on the last Saturday of the College football regular season. When the series first started, both Navy and Army were powerhouse football programs often competing for National Championship. However, both teams haven’t entered the game with winning records in nine years.
“Although the Air Force Game has become more important because of our shared successes, Army-Navy is still our most treasured contest”, agrees midshipmen Andre Webb, a student at the United States Naval Academy. ”It’s a date people shoot for from the start of year.”
But, what makes this game different from other rivalries is that when it is over all the players are actually on the same team fighting for the same cause. Because after graduation the students from West Point and the Naval Academy are required to serve a minimum of five years in the armed services.
“We love them on the battlefield we hate them on the football field,” said Webb.
During the game both Army and Navy honored past players who died while serving their country in Iraq. And for some watching, the game has taken on more meaning because of the United States involvement in the War on terrorism.
“The game has more importance because you can see that those guys playing football are the same type of people that are defending our country”, said longtime Army fan and Longwood University student Jude Coe. ”It makes me respect them more when there out there.”
With the win Navy secures the Commander and Chief trophy, given to the winner of the football games between the three major service academies, for the third straight year and is headed to there third straight bowl game. For Army this loss drops them to 4-7 on the season. But there is some solace for Army. ”At least we beat Air force”, said army fan Bryan Williams.