Army comes back to keep trophy at Schofield

Senior Airman Jamal Jones holds up the flag after sacking Army quarterback Spc. Walter Matthews (in background) for a loss.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

In what was billed as the annual Army vs. Navy Classic, the team from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, which is mostly comprised of Navy personnel mixed with a few from the Air Force, came out and scored first, but couldn’t hold on, as Army outgunned Navy, 19-7, to win the Classic Dec. 7 in a night game at Schofield Barracks.

In the four years of competition between the bases, Joint Base held the trophy for the first year, but Army has now won the Classic and has kept the trophy at Schofield for three straight years in a row.

“It was our first time playing together so we just got to live and learn from our mistakes,” said Joint Base quarterback Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Michael Foggin. “It was a tough loss, but we’re going to bounce back next year to win the game.”

Foggin put Joint Base ahead in the first half with a touchdown pass to Steve Jackson, a military family member, to take a quick 7-0 lead.

However, just before half-time, Army staged a drive for a score to tie the game at 7-7 going into intermission.

“That was very important,” said Army quarterback Spc. Walter Matthews about the game-tying score. “We knew that we were getting the ball at halftime and we knew we could go up by a score, and that’s what we did.”

Army’s first possession after halftime didn’t start off good when Matthews had his first pass attempt from scrimmage swatted away by Senior Airman Jamal Jones. But on the very next play, Matthews came up with a big completion to Sgt. Jeremy Rymac that moved the chains from the Army 15 to the Joint Base 32.

The drive seemed to have stalled when Matthews was sacked for a huge loss by Jones on third down.

Instead of punting the ball on fourth down, Army went for it and Matthews connected with Spc. Dashawn Brooks for a clutch completion that ended up with Brooks turning upfield and taking it all the way to the house to give Army its first lead of the game at 13-7.

“I rolled to my right and I happened to see him (Brooks),” recalled Matthews. “It was a good ball, but he made a better catch.”

The Army defense, which was solid throughout the night, gave the ball back to Matthews after stopping Joint Base on downs at its own 39.

Armed with good field position, Matthews led a drive down to the Joint Base 3-yard line, before hitting Sgt. Johna-than Brown with a quick toss in the end zone for the final touchdown of the game.

“It was just more communication on our sideline,” Matthews said about the win. “Our offense saw what their offense was doing and we relayed it to our defense. They (Army defense) executed out there. That was on the defense.”

For Joint Base, it all came down to a lack of time playing together said Foggin. Joint Base had only one week to assemble the squad after the Joint Base flag football season came to an end.

“We just needed to practice,” Foggin said. “We weren’t together before the game. If we had some practice and cohesion, we would have come out on top.”

Matthews said that the win was great, but spending time with other members of the armed forces is the best thing about playing the game.

“It’s always a great time to beat Navy, but it’s a great time to come together as well,” Matthews admitted.

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Category: Sports