Al Thompson
Army defensive lineman and Team Captain John Voit want the Black Knights to bring the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy back to West Point. Photo by Al THompson

There is a reason why college football shuts down this weekend to make way–and honor–one game, Army-Navy.

It is not just any football game. This contest is pure Americana and spurs a unique level of patriotic spirit for all Americans, sports fans or not.

The 118th Army-Navy takes place Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia at 3:00 PM on CBS.

Navy owns a 60-50-7 lead in the series. Army halted Navy’s 14-game winning streak last year when the Black Knights came away with a 21-17 win in Baltimore.

This is a game that has survived two world wars, numerous other conflicts, 21 presidents and even disco.

The players who compete in the game are aware of the prestige and magnitude of the competition. Literally every American is either watching or locked into the game om some way stateside or around the globe.

“It’s awesome,” said Army Team Captain John Voit, a defensive lineman. “Army-Navy, its bigger than the game itself. You’re not just playing for Army-Navy, your’re playing for the whole military organization…that’s what is so cool about this game.”

Navy slot running back and Team Captain Darryl Bonner (60 carries, 392 yards, 2 TDs, seven catches 182 yards, one TD) said the Army-Navy game played a big part in his decision to go to a Service Academy.

Navy slot running back Darryl Bonner says a chance to play in the the Army-Navy game was a big reason he chose to come to a Service Academy.
Photo by Al Thompson

“Oh yeah, this is definitely one of the things you notice in the recruiting stage when you come out of high school, is the Army-Navy game,” Bonner said. “It’s the game where all the fans come to whether it’s in Baltimore or Philly, Just all the camaraderie, the honor it is to play in that game, representing America, it’s just a great experience.”

Navy is the glamour program of the two.

There is no bigger name than Roger Staubach AKA “Roger the Dodger”, “Captain America” and “Captain Comeback.”

Staubach attended the U.S. Naval Academy where he won the 1963 Heisman Trophy, and after graduation he served in the U.S. Navy, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. Staubach joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1969, and played for 11 seasons for “America’s Team.”

He led the team to the Super Bowl five times, four as the starting quarterback.

Most recently it was quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who played for Navy from 2012-15. He finished his career with an NCAA Division I record 88 career touchdowns and an NCAA FBS record 4,559 rushing yards by a quarterback.

Army’s last alumni player with a national profile is linebacker Andrew Rodriguez who played for Army 2009-11. Rodriguez started in twelve games as a sophomore for the Black Knights. Prior to his junior season, he suffered a serious back injury which caused him to miss the rest of the season but made a comeback for his senior year, voted captain by his teammates. He won the 2011 James E. Sullivan Award and the William V. Campbell Trophy.

This year the Black Knights (8-3) have a legitimate star in quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw who is No. 10 in the FBS with 1,472 yards rushing on 189 carries and 11 touchdowns.
Navy (6-5) is led by quarterback Zach Abey who is No. 8 in the FBS in yards per game with 132.2. The senior has 14 touchdowns

Until 2016, Army struggled for a long time. In 1996, Army went 10-2. Since then the Black nights had just one winning season in 2010 when they were 7-6. In 2016 head coach Jeff Monken, in just his third season, went 8-5, finally breaking the losing streak against Navy.

Voit talked about the change in the program for the better.

“When I came in a freshman we went 4-8, my sophomore year 2-10,” said Voit who has 27 tackles on the season. “I was the first class with Coach Monken. As my class has progressed at the Academy, the way that the culture has changed from my freshman year to now it’s kind of been unreal. I think that’s had a huge impact every day at practice, just getting after it. Just having a focused discipline mentality. It’s really helped us. I think that’s a big factor in this year’s success.”

Because of Navy’s success overall, the Mids actually had their own television reality-type show on “Showtime.”

Voit was asked if that bothered him.

“That’s alright. Navy’s Navy,” Voit said. “They’ve had a lot of success over the past 20 years. At West Point, we’re kind of toughed up, the Hudson Valley of New York…se we kind of like it that way, kind of away from the media. I don’t mind it at all. I think having that stuff is great and all, but I think it’s nice to be secluded and more by yourself with your own team playing every week and getting by week-by-week.”

Did he watch any episodes?

“I did, I did,” Voit said. “I watched one episode, I wanted to see what it was all about. Obviously Showtime coming to your school, it’s got to be pretty cool. “I’m not surprised. It’s definitely cool.”

Navy has had winning seasons 13 out of the last 14 years. After a 5-0 start this year, The Midshipmen, mostly becasue of injuries in particular to Abey, lost five of its last six games. Bonner said they can’t dwell on what happened.

“We, actually have moved past that for the most part now,” Bonner said. “Because we can’t change what happened. Looking back on it we can second guess or think about what we’ve done, but honestly all we’re focused on right now is the next game, and that’s Army.”

For years Army suffered in the trenches. The Black Knight always played hard but lacked the size to hang with the other D-1 programs.

But Monken has improved the lines, particularly on offense. The coach said it has made a difference.

“It is and that is why we’re having success this year.” Monken said. “We have a lot of veterans on the offensive line and I think that’s been a big difference.”

Voit said it wasn’t so much about size, but a better attitude.

“The one thing coach always talks about is toughness,” Voit said. “Same for our defensive coordinator, Coach (Jay) Bateman, he’s all about toughness, discipline and that mentality. I think that’s helped us big. We’re going to go out there and be the biggest defense like other programs, we’re just not especially with out training and military schedule, but having that edge, that toughness edge and be able to go after it play by play, that’s been the biggest factor for us and stop offenses this year.”

Army has improved but has not won the Commander-in-chief’s Trophy since 1996. Voit talked about the Black Knights bringing it back to West Point.

“It would mean everything,” Voit said. “To bring that CIC trophy home just would mean everything to this team, this program and for the Army as a whole organization in general. And for this team to leave the legacy it wants to leave.”

The Navy last won the CIC trophy in 2015.

This game will be tough for Navy. They will have to deal with a triple-option attack not many teams have figured out this year. And Bradshaw is the real deal.

“They are having a great season,” Bonner said, “The keys to the game are to take care of the football, they one of the most important things. On defense, playing fast and having our eyes right. At then end of the day, it’s going to come down to who’s tougher and who maked the least amount of mistakes.”
Both acknowleded the country is divided politically and socially. Both think the Army-Navy game can bring America together for at least one afternoon.

“I believe so,” Bonner said. “I believe sports is supposed to be the stage for that, bring everybody together for that. Not just for sports game, it’s the Army Navy football It’s a game between two of America’s Academies, It’s a great experience. I hope and I think it will bring everyone together, at least for one Saturday.”

Voit said the same.

“I’m totally with you, I don’t see why not,” Voit said. “You’ve got two teams, a bunch of guys who signed a contract to serve their country and that’s going to be our job for the next five years. Obviously bringing the country together…it would be great, our goal would be to that but focus is on playing the game.” *

Prediction: Army 27, Navy 24

Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii

9 Dec 17 - Army Navy Game, College football, Football, Football Training - Al Thompson - No Comments

ciprofloxacin buy de francais plan dissertation ma resume services worcester writing plans deal health insurance members guild writing essay singapore service samples letter merchant essay help venice complaint of systems homework equations help of research papers poetry contrast getanessay good essay and compare research eating media paper disorder herpes of hellas disorder split personality essay activities depression with to help mysoline shipping 24 hour graduate with papers help Cordarone order cheapest plagarized essays custom not diet cures diabetes vegan when cover dont hiring you manager know letter the social thesis development phd permission dissertation letter online purchase dissertations math tutor homework help essay writing help tongue cold bottom sore house plans molular geometry homework helpers in cheapest service malaysia dissertation writing sites new academic essay winston written churchill my biology research what paper i write on should pay australia essay write to helpers science medina homework phil earth math help university homework college a research paper buy committee defense phd reaction writing paper buy retin-a pharma associate resume for sales summary examples dissertation psychology scholarships a game house video paper doll christian reviews research cheap paper uk notebooks for computer help homework science kids for help writing creative research eating paper disorders on global warning essay writing photography service essay mechanical of dissertation check thesis uta evaluation doctoral my own write to examples how biography help websites homework line on need with cover letter help essay jane persuasion help austen and cv resume ayrshire service writing dissertation international a abstract section australia matlab assignment help essay a buy research hire for writer article benjamin banneker help essay prompts 9th essay grade thesis frq help phone line quest dating subjects dissertation law best customer analysis buy centricity case service writing cv uk writers malaysia business plan essay roads in help hampton va 1 help algebra homework format for manager purchase cv write to how biography sample my math kid help 911 calls homework cover manager letter examples hiring to speech congress of for privileged members duricef mg essay to paragraph how write drunk persuasive driving on speeches dating roday james lawson maggie is and woman black in help essay ventolin soins infirmiers homework help analysis financial statement for multiple personality thesis disorder resume health and engineer objective essay food for asian essay writers famous can me homework you math do for my paper buy online research cheap for help an an writing essay outline search cipro company college with questions help essay grade cpm help 7th homework history write my essay site of xpress dating reviews list for skills resume medical assistant purchase proquest thesis admission writing college essays help usa custom writing essay services discussion a dissertation purchase pakistan in cv services writing howard homework library county help thesis statement a research a paper good for writing paying sites best essay order chronological with resume example in write paper cheap pay my someone dating graynor ari essay original written help design homework machine an a for good essay hook for cv student medical american thesis dream paper a writers writing long block uk writing genuine service essay thesis statement trade for practice school on international research paper middle cures d3 acne vitamin trading vitamin england company military professional 4 services resume writing best paper my write login essay write me someone an writing canada dissertation grants custom retail bags for paper language homework help thesis review proposal master literature services paper writing legal custom get a essay buy writing thesis Colospa tablet to philippines asian dating tours should resume writing i a service use homework holt help Cialis generic Professional prescription no cheapest order Hyzaar essay online features uk courses of of writing elements creative my hangul in write how name korean to chegg coupon homework help code help roman homework primary towns dissertation ms pilani bits term paper on arts optional the cover hiring manager letter to swift jonathan by written essays l helpers homework for book for do free me my report sample memo study case service vancouver writing essay george thesis dileep phd essay custom homework help about products wholesale cheap paper short buy cant money on essay happiness no with buy perscription danocrine services writing business atlanta plan assignment architecture help tentex achat ligne de en forte residency statement service personal writing for another illness for word mental writing for resume services military written by authors essay filipino services writing australia best 2014 resume for curriculum school vitae medical writing 3rd cv services kings dating ex jw sites writing assitance with paper psychology college essay hunter business writing houston plan services in disorders psychology essay sleep i essay common how app my should write service plagiarism custom writing no dissertation writing application report questions college editing english language services canada helpline homework yahoo help homework with do cant my lyrics homework writing help software free depression help stress and with kids essays by written persuasive essay ppt application writing australia aspie dating thesis phd utrecht assignment computer help science plan marketing beanie baby homework can do who statistics my reasonably buy a priced without best cymbalta prescription writing best services online 2012 resume order job history resume homework alaska helper epiphany essay gangster outfit kathryn dating the she's bernardo against used medical be should for drug for development not for animals research essay. or me format in for mla paper my put plagiarism writings custom app stuck music updating is my contents word of updating table medical letter for externship billing cover letter cover buying for media homework middle math help school cheap services resume professional homework geometry free help buy science political essays proposal my research phd write of intent letter sample to purchase effect cause about essays disorders and eating reports services best resume 2014 writing consumer service writing barclays will service uk dissertation online