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While Army and Navy take to the gridiron Saturday with the Commander in Chief’s trophy at stake, flag football squads in Japan, Okinawa and South Korea will do battle for their own brand of bragging rights in rivalry games that have become increasingly popular.

This year’s flag games are scheduled Saturday, for 10 a.m. at Camp Zama in Japan and Yongsan Garrison in South Korea, and 1 p.m. at Okinawa’s Torii Station, some 15 hours before the Midshipmen of Annapolis and the Black Knights of West Point face off at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.

At Falcon Field on Yongsan’s South Post, sailors and Marines from throughout South Korea take on soldiers from Seoul’s Area II Support Activity for the Peninsula Trophy.

The pregame ceremony is slated for 9:45 a.m., with a number of Army and Navy distinguished visitors expected to attend, organizers said. Soldier and sailor cheerleaders will perform at halftime.

Preceding the game, each team and its supporters have planned pep rallies and bonfires for 6 p.m. Friday. The Navy’s is to take place at Youth Services’ Field 9 and the Army’s at the Lombardo Field FourPlex.

A pregame parade is slated for early Saturday morning.

Zama American High School’s Trojans Field will welcome teams of Camp Zama soldiers and Yokosuka Naval Base sailors and Marines, along with guests including Zama garrison commander Col. Garland H. Williams and Yokosuka’s Command Master Chief Petty Officer Luis R. Cruz. Opening ceremony is at 9:50 a.m.

A battle of the bands and cheerleader performances are scheduled for halftime. Following the contest, the teams will gather for a postgame banquet at the Zama Community Club.

The oldest of them all, the Okinawa Army-Navy Classic, enters its 16th year. Accompanying the game is the Krist Kindle Christmas Mart in the parking lot adjacent to Torii Field, which has hosted the game since its inception in 1991.

Torii Station soldiers will take on Fleet Activities Okinawa sailors and a handful of Marines. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for noon with ranking officers from both services expected to be on hand for the pregame coin toss.

Halftime activities include an awards ceremony for the island’s youth punt-pass-and-kick competition and cheerleader performances. A pep rally and fun run are slated the day before the game.

Soldiers have beaten the sailors by 2-1 margins the past two years in the flag games. Navy edged Army 19-18 last Dec. 4 at Yokosuka, avenging a 26-18 win by the soldiers on Dec. 6, 2003, at Camp Zama. Army downed Navy 22-6 at Yongsan, while Okinawa soldiers won for the eighth time in nine years, rallying from an 11-point deficit to edge the sailors 30-27.


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