Army hoping to beat Air Force again

November 3rd, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Army hoping to beat Air Force again


Associated Press

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Bobby Ross' third season at Army has suddenly turned a bit sour with three straight losses. Beating Air Force for the second straight time could make things a whole lot better real fast.
"It is one game that can mean more than one because it can remove a few frustrations of the season," Ross said. "It's very important. Winning the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is very big."
A year ago, Ross guided the Black Knights to a 27-24 victory in Falcon Stadium, Army's first road win in the series since 1977. The score might as well have been 100-0 in the eyes of Falcons fullback Ryan Williams.
"Anytime somebody comes in and embarrasses you like they did last year on our home turf, we want to go out and pay them back a little," Williams said. "There may be a little added incentive."
The Falcons have dominated the series, winning 15 of the last 17 meetings, and they can atone for last year when the archrivals meet Friday night at West Point's Michie Stadium in a nationally televised game.
"We want to at least get one of our wins against a service academy, so this is a huge game for us," Williams said. "The Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is pretty much done for us. We just want to go out there and get a win."
Both teams are eager to stop recent slides.
Air Force (3-4), which opened its season with a tough 31-30 loss at Tennessee, has dropped consecutive Mountain West games to San Diego State (19-12) and Brigham Young (33-14). Army (3-6) needs to win to earn a berth in the Poinsettia Bowl.
"They've already played nine games, so this is do or die for them," Air Force safety Bobby Giannini said. "We know they're going to come out with a sense of urgency."
Heightening the drama is the coveted Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, given annually to the winner of the football competition between the three major service academies. Navy is in the driver's seat, having beaten Air Force 24-17 earlier in the season to spoil any chance the Falcons had.
"It would mean a lot (to win)," Army linebacker Barrett Scruggs said. "It's my last go-around with Air Force, and to beat them would be a huge way to go out, especially two in a row."
Army hasn't won sole possession of the trophy since 1996, while the Falcons have captured it outright 14 times in DeBerry's 22 years.
"The Commander-in-Chief's Trophy means an awful lot to us," DeBerry said. "Last year we were last in the competition. We certainly don't want to be in that position again. We might not be able to win, but we can have a lot to say who is going to win it, maybe."
Navy can retain the hardware for the fourth straight year with a victory over the Black Knights in December. But this year there is a wave of hope at Army after Navy quarterback Brian Hampton, the key to the Middies' attack, dislocated his left knee last month against Rutgers.
"I think they feel like now that Navy's lost their quarterback, that maybe they've got a great chance to beat us and to slip in there and beat Navy and win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the first time in a long time," DeBerry said. "I know that's the focus."
Air Force and Army have met in a night contest just once previously - in the first night game held at West Point. And the Black Knights won 24-12 before a national ESPN television audience exactly 22 years ago, on Nov. 3, 1984.
"You want to play well and beat your rivals," Ross said. "We have great respect for their program and their people just as we do for Navy, but it is a big and important ball game."

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