After losing three of four games to Navy a year ago, defense helped Army win the day Saturday on the flag gridirons, taking two of three Rivalry Day football games in Japan, Korea and Okinawa.

Joseph Huewitt’s two interceptions squelched Navy drives, and the second one set up the game-winning touchdown as Army edged Navy 17-14 on Torii Field at Torii Station, Okinawa. Army picked off four passes, returning three for touchdowns, as the soldiers routed the sailors 46-12 at Seoul American High School’s Falcon Field in South Korea. Only a 25-6 rout by the Navy over Army at Trojans Field at Zama American High School in Japan prevented a complete Army shutout on Saturday.

Army has won 30 of 42 of these contests, dating back to the first one in 1990 at Torii.

Mirroring the annual Army-Navy service academy games in the States, they symbolize on-field competition and interservice camaraderie off it. "At the end, we’re all still brothers and sisters in arms and on one team," Torii Station’s 10th Support Group commander Col. James E. Woodard said.

Before some 800, clear skies and 75-degree temperatures at Torii Field, Woodard and Naval Forces Okinawa commanding officer Capt. Michael Vizcarra presided over the opening ceremony.

Santa Claus delivered the game ball to the officials in a Humvee. A $10,000 ball-toss contest was staged at halftime; seven contestants failed to throw a football through a hole in a panel from 25 yards away.

Army scored 17 unanswered points to rally from an early 7-0 deficit. Huewitt’s interception and 28-yard return set up the go-ahead score, a 19-yard Kishann Smith-to-Frank Jordan pass with 11:53 left.

It was Army’s sixth straight victory and 16th in 20 tries in the Commander’s Trophy series. "We’re going to make it seven next year," Huewitt said.

Army won for the 11th time in 14 games in Korea’s Peninsula Trophy series by intercepting four Navy second-half passes and holding the sailors to five passing yards. Lee Vance caught two touchdown passes for the soldiers.

Under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-40s, the game was played before some 200 fans, including Naval Forces Korea commanding officer Rear Adm. Peter A. Gumataotao and Yongsan Garrison commander Col. Dave Hall; the two presided over the coin toss.

"I played last year and felt bad when Navy beat us, so I’m happy that we were able to win today," said Dennis Brown of Yongsan’s 142nd Military Police Company. "The four interceptions, solid defensive play and our fan base proved too much for them."

At Trojans Field, Navy became the first team in the Japan rivalry to win on the road and win two straight games; Navy leads the series 5-3, which made it "particularly special," one Navy player said. The game was played before about 40 fans in sunny, mild conditions with temperatures in the low 50s.

Defense, the common denominator in Army’s wins at Yongsan and Torii, helped Navy prevail at Zama.

"It was close at the beginning," said Navy’s Anthony Seamen. "Then, we looked at our game plan and then locked in on defense. Our defense was the key to the win."

Stars and Stripes reporters Grant Okubo and Alfredo Jimenez contributed to this story.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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