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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Army faces Navy in annual ROTC football game

Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat Nick Ball, a sociology sophomore, practices throwing to his teammates under defensive pressure. Ball plays on the Army ROTC football team who had a practice on the mall Tuesday Afternoon.

The UA ROTC will host a flag football game for charity tonight at Arizona Stadium to carry on a rich tradition between the Army and Navy units.

All revenue will be donated to Arizona Heroes to Hometowns.

While the game is a contest between Army and Navy, the Marines also play alongside the Navy because they are technically a part of its branch. Other than bragging rights, the two squads also compete for an old football they have battled over on the gridiron for decades.

“I’m just looking forward to playing in the stadium; it’s going to be a blast under all the lights,” said Navy Midshipman Anthony Garcia, a receiver. “But I think we’re pretty good. We have some raw talent and I think we could tear it up.”

The winner gets to keep the ball in their branch’s display case for the rest of the year. It has resided in Army’s since its victory in 2012.

“It’s like us [Arizona] against ASU — Army doesn’t want to lose to us, and we don’t want to lose to them,” said Marines Sgt. Matthew Bergman, who is a captain of his team. “But we try to keep it as professional as possible, no fights or anything.”

Both teams have been prepping for the game and have designed plays. Navy uses a set standard, no huddle offense with two receivers outside and in the slot, according to Bergman.

Army has the size advantage on defense and has spent more time practicing, Bergman said.

He noted the Navy defensive line is outweighed by Army’s offensive line by about 50 pounds.

“I think Army’s had a lot more practice, so we just have to get out there and get aggressive and just pull flags,” said Navy Midshipman Jonathan Asheim, a defensive lineman. “We just need to get in the backfield and not give their quarterback any time.”

The UA intramural football leagues will provide referees for the game. The gates will open and tickets will be sold for $2 starting at 6 p.m. The game is set to kickoff at 7 p.m.

“People often think of the military as a whole, but every branch within it is a huge rivalry in itself,” Bergman said, “and that’s as a whole, not just ROTC. Generally, Army and the Marines don’t like each other. We’re all one fighting for peace for the nation and freedom, but everything is a competition with us.”

—Follow Joey Putrelo @JoeyPutrelo

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