@DigSportsDesk Writes on the 120th Army vs. Navy Football Game
PHILADELPHIA – Here’s a look at the Day in the Life of the Army vs. Navy Game, December 14, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event is sponsored by @USAA
10am – Press Gate opens. Efficient job of checking in approximately 100 media in line. Dogs sniffed our bags, as Secret Service personnel did the “airport type” check-in. Everyone cooperated quite nicely.
College Game Day on ESPN all set-up in parking lot near the Linc and 76ers’ home court (Wells Fargo). Lucked out to have a media monitor right next to my assigned press seat.
10:30am – Easy elevator ride to Press Room and all set-up in a manner of minutes. The press notes, game programs and a HOT cup of Dunkin’ just make my morning. Navy SIDs ROCK on the media credentialing and services. Professional, courteous, competent and efficient.
11:00am – Sound check for the National Anthem. Wow with knowledge it’ll be 4:07:45 and 4:08:30 of time until the flyovers. (note the seconds with knowledge these guys don’t screw around).
11:03am – Colleague John Wall Street (Corey) checks in with a TXT that he is in awe of the massive TAIL GATE and ESPN College Game Day set-up. The “big event” atmosphere quite apparent and every single person you come in contact with all knowing we’re all thinking we’d rather be here than ANYWHERE else in the world.
11:28am – Navy personnel rehearse deployment of Old Glory (in shape of the USA (the 48 and two cool flags for Hawaii and Alaska) on the field in the pregame.
12:10pm – Navy marches on to the field. Stunning. The Midshipmen give a tip of the hat to their opponents.
12:40pm – Army marches on to the field. The rivalry is much more apparent when in person than when the game is viewed on TV. ESPN College Game Day signage is rather tame compared to the words exchanged from Cadets to Midshipmen and back again.
1:15pm – Navy defeats Army in amazing obstacle course competition. The spirit and rooting for colleague factor is off-the-charts.
1:25-2:40pm – Yes, there’s a game to play and the players warm-up
2:45pm – The respective teams depart the field after warm-ups, as the game clock counts down. 26:00 minutes
3:00pm – Welcome video and Invocation by Navy chaplain.
Pregame ceremonies include the introduction of the President* of the United States and coin-toss. Navy wins to toss. The overcast skies and consistent mist and (10-15 mph) winds were reason enough to cancel the fly-overs, but the planes flew anyways.
3:12pm – Kick-off and we’re UNDERWAY.
Now in Game Time:
1st Q – 0:27 – Army Scores: 18 plays, 78-yards in 10:41 resulting in an Army TD, a five-yard run by Christian Anderson. (extra point is good) – (7-0 Army).
2nd Q – 13:34 – Navy Scores: Four plays, 75-yards in 1:53, resulting in a 55-yard TD run by Navy QB Malcolm Perry. The touchdown run placed Perry as the All-time Navy single-season total offense leader.
Interestingly, CBS Sports color commentator Gary Danielson had just mentioned that Army needed to limit the “long runs” by Perry.
2nd Q – 10:24 – An impressive 55-yeard punt by Army punter Zach Harding was downed at the Navy three-yard line. Big play.
The overcast conditions seem to be clearing and there are glimpses of sun in the upper deck (Army side of field) and blue sky at the Linc.
2nd Q – :06 – Navy FB Jamale Carothers catches a lofted, floating forever pass from Chance Warren as the Midshipmen run a “Philly Special” reverse “flea flicker” to take a (14-7) lead. The play finished a 12-play, 91-yard drive in 4:36 of time elapsed. Navy kicked-off and time ran out for the first half with the knowledge they’d receive the 2nd Half kickoff.
The Commander-in-Chief switched sides for viewing the 2nd half from the Navy side of the field.
As the second half begins, darkness falls upon the Linc as 68,705 fans hurry back to their seats for an entertaining game. The Philly sunset and warm temps make for a great viewing spectacle.
3rd Q – 15:00 – Army kicks to Navy and the Midshipmen crank up the offense from their own 25-yard line. The game’s first penalty is called, an offsides against Army.
Malcolm Perry recorded 20 rushes of 20-or-more yards to lead the nation in that stat category.
3rd Q – 4:53 – Navy takes a 21-7 lead after a seven play, 45-yard drive in 3:53 of ball possession. The result? A Jamale Carothers five-yard TD run, his second of the game.
Interesting to trade Tweets, Emails, Texts and DMs with friends and followers watching on TV. The spectacle of the game, combined with the running style/moves of Malcolm Perry make this MUST SEE football. “It’s not college football, it’s Americana,” said a cohort in the Linc press room.
4th Q – 8:31 – The defining and possibly game-clinching defensive play for the Midshipmen results in a 1-yard loss for Sandon McCoy with a gang-tackle led by Navy Sr. linebacker Paul Carothers. The play is key in loss of downs and turning the ball over to Navy offense which can run out the clock with their control options offensive playbook.
4th Q – 6:30-to-6:13 – Navy is forced to punt and Army takes over on their own 22, trailing (24-7). Surprise, surprise, surprise … Army runs on three of four plays.
4th Q – 4:59 – Navy takes over on loss of downs. TV time-out and the Naval Academy Midshipmen begin to celebrate in earnest. The Cadets, sensing defeat, are not afraid to enjoy the final minutes with their fellow officers in training.
4th Q – 3:23 – Another tv timeout is tucked into the game. Navy (10-2) will prepare for the Liberty Bowl vs Kansas State. Army finishes the 2019 campaign at (5-8).
4th Q – 1:49 – Navy’s Malcolm Perry rushed for a final touchdown and now has gained 304 yards, his career high. The 15-yard TD run capped a six-play, 47 yard drive that ran the clock for 3:17. Navy posts a (31-7) lead. Perry was voted game MVP.
4th Q – 0:45 – Inside Linebacker Tyler Pistoria intercepted a Kelvin Hopkins pass to seal the victory for Navy.
GAME OVER – And, the Midshipmen sing:
“Now colleges from sea to sea
May sing of colors true,
But who has better right than we
To hoist a symbol hue:
For sailors brave in battle fair
Since fighting days of old,
Have proved the sailor’s right to wear
The Navy Blue & Gold.
So hoist our colors, hoist them high,
And vow allegiance true,
So long as sunset gilds the sky
Above the ocean blue,
Unlowered shall those colors be
Whatever fate they meet,
So glorious in victory,
Triumphant in defeat.
Four years together by the Bay,
Where Severn joins the tide,
Then by the Service called away,
We’re scattered far and wide;
But still when two or three shall meet,
And old tales be retold,
From low to highest in the Fleet,
We’ll pledge the Blue and Gold.”