WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 11, 2009) - West Point cadets came to the Pentagon Friday knowing that a win over Navy could bring them back to the nation's capital for a bowl game later this month.

Army goes into Saturday's gridiron classic against Navy with a record of 5-6 and a seven-year losing streak against the Midshipmen. Beating Navy could give the Black Knights an invite to the EagleBank Bowl Dec. 29 at Washington's RFK Stadium. Navy on the other hand already locked up a trip to the Texas Bowl New Year's Eve with a record of 8-4.

"They don't have as much (on the line) going into the game," said cadet Robert Dickie, one of the mascots with the "Rabble Rousers" who spent the morning cheering through the halls of the Pentagon with the academy's Spirit Band.

At the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Special Assistant Christian Marrone spoke to the cadets on the behalf of Secretary Robert Gates who was out of the building. He told cadets they had already won the pep rally battle of school spirit, cheering louder than the Midshipmen who came by Thursday. "Fair is fair," Marrone said.

Next stop for the cadets, however, was the Office of the Secretary of the Navy. Secretary Ray Mabus apologized to the cadets, tongue in cheek, for his Midshipmen beating West Point the last seven consecutive years. In a rivalry that's overall 53 to 49 with seven ties, this is the longest losing streak ever for the cadets against Navy.

"We're definitely breaking that streak," cadet Dickie said. His best moment so far this season was beating Vanderbilt, a SEC team. "It just shows Army can compete with the big guns," he added.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh said that Navy may be overconfident. He said the Germans were overconfident in World War II and look how the U.S. Army came back to beat them.

"We can do anything," Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. said to the loud cheers of cadets and fellow Soldiers crowding the Pentagon's E Ring. Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal was there along with other members of the Secretariet and Army Staff.

Director of the Army Staff Lt. Gen. David Huntoon wore his West Point sweater over his Army Combat Uniform. Training and Doctrine Command's Gen. Martin Dempsey joined in the singing and cheering. So did Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli, along with many others.

West Point, after all, goes into Saturday's match with a two-game winning streak. And the cadets have plenty of confidence, not to mention more than enough spirit.

"I enjoy the spirit of the Army Band," said cadet Aubrey Boswell who performs with the academy's percussion section. She said her uncle is an Annapolis graduate and her cousins are with him at Norfolk Naval Base.

"We have a family brawl right now," she said of the spirited rivalry between the two schools and two services, leading up to one of college football's most historic rivalries.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16