While the Naval Academy entered its annual rivalry game with West Point at Philadelphia as an overwhelming favorite, soldiers at least held sway on the Pacific’s flag football fields, winning two of three clashes Saturday with Navy teams.
Navy’s lone victory Saturday did snap a seven-year winning streak by an Army team. At Torii Station on Okinawa, Navy prevailed 17-12 over the Torii Army Knights.
Elsewhere, Army blanked Navy 34-0 at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, while soldiers outlasted the sailors 26-18 at Camp Zama, Japan.
Army 26, Navy 18
CAMP ZAMA, Japan — About 30 fans gathered in cloudy, chilly conditions — but no rain — at Zama American High School’s Trojans Field for just the second installment of the Pacific’s newest Army-Navy rivalry.
The game turned into a back-and-forth aerial battle, with a team of soldiers from host Camp Zama outlasting sailors from Yokosuka Naval Base and avenging last year’s 18-12 defeat in chilly, blustery conditions at Yokosuka’s Berkey Field.
Navy 17, Army 12
TORII STATION, Okinawa — Cornerback Antuwane Mosley returned a second-quarter interception 40 yards for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown for the sailors.
It gave Navy a 14-0 halftime lead. Running back Jimmel Hargrove put the sailors on the board in the first period with a short TD burst. After Army rallied for a pair of touchdowns, Navy kicker Anthony Papp provided some insurance with a short field goal late in the contest.
“I feel like I won the Super Bowl,” said Channing Smith, Navy’s quarterback and the game’s offensive MVP. He’d been at the controls for two of Navy’s seven straight losses to Army.
The Knights rallied behind running back Jerry Smith, who ran for one touchdown, and quarterback Ricky McDade, who found Jeremy Coltrin in the end zone for another TD on a pass that slipped through Mosley’s hands. But that was as close as Torii came.
The game was played in ankle-deep mud, brought on by game-long rain that kept the crowd huddled under tents in the parking lot above Torii Field. The crowd topped out at about 500, down from 3,000 attending last year’s contest, won by Army 14-6.
Army 34, Navy 0
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — After falling to Navy three times from 1999 to 2001, Army has chalked up a two-game winning streak in the Peninsula Trophy series.
In the most widely attended of the three Pacific contests, about 600 fans took in Army’s victory at Seoul American High School’s Falcons Field. The soldiers took to the air, passing for four touchdowns. It could have been worse — two TDs were called back on penalties.
For soldier Franklin Ball, the win was especially sweet. He was due to leave South Korea on Sunday for a new assignment. “It was a farewell sendoff for me,” said Ball, who was also around for last year’s 8-0 triumph.
— Stripes correspondents Fred Zimmerman and Jeremy Kirk and Yongsan and Zama sports and fitness center directors Bennie Jackson and Paul Stearns contributed to this report.