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Black Knights squeak past Midshipmen in Army-Navy Game

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In a day dominated by military tradition, the one that really counted the most was that Army “sang second.”

The student bodies of the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy sing their school songs at the end of each year’s Army-Navy football game. The winner always sings second.

The game went right down to the wire with Navy missing a field goal for Army to beat Navy 14-13 – the second year in a row.

Army also won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy as both Army and Navy beat the Air Force Academy this year. It was the 118th meeting in the rivalry. Nearly all midshipmen and cadets of the academies attended the game.

Philadelphia looked more like Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, as the midshipmen and cadets marched into Lincoln Financial Field in driving snow that intensified as the game went on.

The Army Black Knights wore white uniforms honoring the 10th Mountain Division and they seemed to merge into the snowy field. The Navy Midshipmen wore blue uniforms honoring the Blue Angels.

For the past week, the Army and Navy corridors in the Pentagon were abuzz about the game. Army and Navy “spirit squads” roamed the halls on Friday before they headed to Philadelphia.

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan attended the game along with Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and Army Secretary Mark Esper, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.

The game – carried by CBS – is truly a worldwide draw and the network showed troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan, troops deployed to Puerto Rico, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and “spirit videos” from around the world.

Army began the game with an 11-play drive for a touchdown. Army followed its game plan for the season with not one pass during the series. In fact, Army threw only one pass in the whole game. It was complete.

Navy answered with a drive that yielded a field goal – again with no passes.

Both teams battled the elements as much as each other, and at the end of the first quarter, the Black Knights were ahead 7-3.

At the beginning of the second quarter, Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry burst free and ran 68 yards for a touchdown, and the half ended with Navy ahead 10-7.

The midshipmen began the third quarter with a field goal pushing the score to 13-7, and that is how the quarter ended.

Army charged back in the fourth quarter scoring a touchdown by quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, and with the extra point took the lead 14-13. But there was plenty of time left as Navy got the ball with good field position. Navy drove, but an attempted 48-yard field goal sailed just wide left as time expired in the game.

The cadets and midshipmen in the stands moved to the field and Navy sang the alma mater – followed by Army. n