By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Hawkins, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
TACOMA, Wash., (NNS) — Hundreds of football fans gathered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Cowan Stadium in Tacoma, Wash., to cheer on Sailors and Soldiers as they competed in the 15th annual Army vs. Navy regional flag football game, Dec. 12.
The event was free to the public and sponsored by local businesses. In addition to the game, spectators were treated to a tailgate BBQ, door prizes, sponsor booths, and a performance from the I Corps Army’s “Bull’s-eye Brass” band.
“Our team is made up from members of all the different commands in Navy Region Northwest,” said Capt. Thomas Zwolfer, Naval Base Kitsap commanding officer. “This game is a great opportunity to bring all of us together in a unified force. The Navy and Army are all one team on the battlefield, but the football field is a different story. ”
During the first quarter, Navy was the only one to make it to their end zone but received a penalty for pass interference and their touchdown was overturned. However, they still scored the game’s first touchdown and made the conversion during the second quarter, bringing the score to 7-0 Navy at the end of the first half.
“Being out here on this field, playing with these younger Army and Navy guys really makes me feel rejuvenated,” said Navy team quarterback Master-at-Arms 1st Class Michael Haberstumpf, stationed with Naval Hospital Bremerton. “This game reaffirms the sense of brotherhood and family between our two branches and both teams can walk away with that, no matter who wins the trophy.”
In the third quarter Navy continued to dominate the scoreboard with a field goal, making the score 10-0. Team Army responded with their own field goal, closing out the third quarter with the scoreboard reading 10-3.
Team Army attempted to rally in the fourth quarter, twice making it to their end zone but received penalties, which overturned both possible touchdowns. While Navy offense continued to dominate, scoring two more touchdowns both with a successful conversions bringing the score to 24-3.
“This is just a game,” said Daniel Burleigh, team Navy Head Coach. “These young men defend our nation and the world, and no matter what are brothers in arms. This is just a way for both sides to come together, even when facing off against each other.”
Army fought until the last second, making their first touchdown with 14 seconds remaining in the game but failed to make the conversion. Navy celebrated their second consecutive win with a final score of 24-9.
After the game players shook hands and Navy maintained ownership of the trophy, which Zwolfer handed over to team Navy to celebrate with.
“If you look at the trophy and the dates each team won, no one has ever won three games in a row,” said Burleigh. “We are in the perfect position to be the first, but Army is a strong and fierce team. I expect next year’s game to be memorable.”