Back to News Front

Army trains to beat Navy

Bragging rights at stake in the annual Army-Navy game

Army is already on the field practicing to beat Navy. Photo courtesy JBLM Intramurals

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

There will be no TV cameras, no national audience watching every long pass, every touchdown, every tackle.

But there will be the same want-to-win intensity when this version of the Army-Navy game kicks off Dec. 11 at Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton.

"This game means a lot," said Tuavares Henriquez, who'll coach and play defensive end for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord team. "It's for fun and we understand that we are America's military, but on that field we are competitors. It is Army versus Navy on the field."

There's an adrenaline rush on the field, a want-to-win gusto. That's especially true this year for Henriquez. Army has lost the last two games and trails the series that began in 2000 - 9-6.

Henriquez is committed to winning. Practices have been intense. Since early September and up to game day in December, the Army team practices Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting at 5:30 p.m. at the new turf field by the Nelson Recreational Center. It's been 90 minutes of sweat. Henriquez wants everyone to have fun, but just not too much fun.

"We want to win," he said.

It's flag football, not tackle. But the bragging rights are still up for grabs.

Two years ago, Charlie Blake coached the JBLM team. He had a unique insight to the traditional Army-Navy clash. He coached running backs for West Point in the 1980s. Henriquez doesn't have any college experience playing or coaching, but he's still got that secret ingredient he's trying to pass on - the want to.

"I have the mindset that I can lead them to victory," he said.

Army's got a few ex-college players. One player was a high school teammate of A.J. Green, a first-round draft pick who now plays wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Henriquez is convinced the key to winning is finding the right quarterback, the one who can be a double threat by throwing the long ball or breaking loose for a long gainer. In fact, Henriquez just switched a quarterback because he wasn't "cutting it."

"Quarterback will definitely make or break our team," Henriquez said. "Personally, I oversee the quarterback position. I hold them to a higher standard."

The turnout for practices have been good. There's between 45 and 50 at every practice. As coach, it's Henriquez's job to keep everyone working hard.

"I tell my players every day you can have fun, but I need you to execute," Henriquez said. " I need you to be a football player."

And don't screw around.

"Work hard. And get things done," he said.

To make sure things get done at practice, Henriquez keeps his serious face on at practice. It takes someone to say okay guys let's get going to stay focused. Henriquez wants to make sure things get done. That's the kind of leadership he provides, a hard-nosed work ethic.

"This game means a lot," Henriquez said. "It's tradition."

For ticket information or soldiers and airmen interested in playing, call 253.967.4768. 

Read next close

Bars & Clubs

Food, football and fun

comments powered by Disqus