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Roughed Up, Army, Air Force, Face Off

College Men

Roughed Up, Army, Air Force, Face Off

Air Force lost to Navy earlier this fall. Colleen McCloskey photo.

Army visits Air Force Friday in the second leg of the three-game Commander-in-Chief Trophy series between the three service academies, and it's a game about momentum for both.

Army struggled early in the season with losses to Trinity College Dublin, Kutztown, and Notre Dame College, but the Black Knights also sprinkled in wins over Dartmouth, and Iona. Three weeks ago Army lost 27-10 to Lindenwood, but it was perhaps a more consistent performance for Head Coach Matt Sherman's players, and that has translated into victories over St, Bonaventure and Mary Washington in the last couple of weeks.

(Army vs St. Bonaventure photos by Chris Sustersic. Air Force vs Navy photos by Colleen McCloskey.)

"We’ve been happy with how hard the team has been working to improve and the growth in our performances over the last few weeks," said Sherman. "The wins have been a nice reward, but we’re most pleased with the direction we’re heading of steady improvement and want to focus on continuing that trend this week."

And tat's the whole point—not folding up the tent when things get difficult.

For Air Force, things have also been challenging. There have been some good days, such as a competitive loss to Colorado State and wins over New Mexico and Utah State, but Navy and BYU hit them hard.

But as with Army, the Air Force players aren't backing down.

"The players continue to maintain an extremely high degree of enthusiasm and commitment through all the challenges," said Merideth, who sent his 2nds to the High Desert while the 1sts beat Utah State 44-10 last week. "Our youth and inexperience had led to tactical errors and an inordinate share of penalties through the season. We tend, too often, to be our toughest opponent."

But Merideth is optimistic and said the players are learning some tough lessons along the way.

They get to show what they've learned Friday, as Air Force hosts Army at 3:30PM Mountain Time. It's yet another chapter in this traditional rivary, but also a story about how a good rugby player, or team, is one that battles back.

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