The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave... - Patrick Henry
56-49-7. That is where the all-time Army-Navy Football rivalry stands. As painful as it is for me to say this, Navy has a commanding lead of seven games. It has been ten long years since Army last beat Navy in football. I was at the game. At that time, Army led the series 49-46-7. Now it has reached the point where most people don’t believe Army has ever led the all-time rivalry in wins. Unfortunately, I am beginning to think the Brave Old Army Team doesn’t believe it can ever beat Navy again. The past two years the game has been Army’s to win. Instead, each of the games became Army’s to lose. Mistakes – penalties, turnovers, blown plays, missed reads, and ridiculous gaffes have taken momentum right away from Army and proven that their toughest opponent is themselves. The teams that took the field last year and this season have never been more evenly matched. That meant winning came down to the team that committed the fewest mistakes. As fate would have it, Navy executed better than Army in both games from start to finish. Just as predictably, Navy won. The streak of futility continues. There were stretches of this year’s game in which Army seemed dominant. Their offense ate up large chunks of yardage. The defense held Navy on their own side of the field. But too often a mistake would kill a drive, sink momentum, or give the ball to Navy with a short field. Army’s final drive of the game came down to a 4th and 7 play deep in Navy territory. The play they chose was basic triple-option wishbone football. Trent Steelman, who played a very good game, missed the most basic quarterback read of the triple-option. The first option is the fullback off center. If the defensive tackle crashes inside, the quarterback fakes to the fullback and continues down the line with the ball. If the defensive tackle plays straight on his lane, the quarterback should hand off to the fullback up the middle. On Army’s final play the Navy defensive tackle played straight. The basic read – the first read – should have been to handoff to the fullback, who had a big hole and open field ahead. Instead, Trent kept the ball and was forced to retreat into the backfield due to the very same Navy defensive tackle playing straight. The play ended with a loss of yards and a turnover on downs. Army never got the ball back as Navy ran out the last two minutes of the game. Enough is enough Army! Ten years of pain has got to end. Believe it! Do it! Make next year the game in which Army starts its own streak. Make Navy feel the pain of a loss while singing their Alma Mater first at the end of the game. Feel the boundless joy as you watch Navy choke back tears while you lead the Corps of Cadets in our own Alma Mater in a victorious harmony. The time is now. This pain has to end now.
For this year’s game, I watched the game with some of the Cavalry Troopers of Gary Owen. These hardcore 1st CAV guys have been providing escort to many of my convoys in the past nine months. They are truly awesome Soldiers and leaders. Several of their Officers are fellow USMA alumni. We cheered the Army Team on while drinking near-beer over a few burgers and hot dogs. But our mood became very somber as the final minutes ticked down to zero. We all shook hands and dispersed with sincere sorrow in our hearts. Losing to Navy is unfathomable. It is an abomination. It is unacceptable. Army the time has come to put a stop to this madness. I will be at next year’s game. We will all rejoice in raucous celebration as a new streak begins – Army over Navy. GO ARMY! BEAT NAVY!!