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Associated Press
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo, left, and Army coach Rich Ellerson, will battle for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy today in Philadelphia.

Army fighting for respect

Navy has won 10 straight times in storied series

– Army’s Jarrett Mackey hears the same order each day he walks around the barracks at West Point.

Beat Navy and bring home the coveted Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.

“Every single time I pass them, it’s, ‘Army-Navy. CIC. Let’s go,’ ” Mackey said. “I wouldn’t say it puts more pressure on us, but it’s time. Let’s do this. We almost need to do it. We’ve got to get out there and get the win. It’s been way too long.”

Try 11 years.

The Army-Navy series is not only the most patriotic rivalry in sports, it’s turned into one of the most one-sided. Navy has won 10 straight, doubling the previous winning streak of either team in a series that stretches back to 1890. It only seems like the Black Knights haven’t won in 122 years. Army last beat Navy in 2001 at Veterans Stadium. The Vet has since been toppled.

So has Army’s all-time lead in the series.

Mackey, a junior defensive end, wants so badly to be part of the class that ends the Middies’ dominance. That alone, is incentive enough. But for the first time in nearly two decades, there is more on the line than just bragging rights.

Winning this game usually makes a season, but this one would mean more than most. The winner today leaves Lincoln Financial Field with the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy, awarded to the team with the best record in games among the three service academies. Army and Navy each defeated Air Force, putting the trophy up for grabs in the regular-season finale for the first time since 2005. Army (2-9) hasn’t hoisted the CIC trophy since 1996. Navy (7-4) won it a school-record seven straight seasons through 2009 before giving way to Air Force the last two seasons.

“From the moment these guys got to West Point, every building and everybody’s front door says, ‘Beat Navy’ and ‘Beat Air Force.’ There is so much on the table for them,” Army coach Rich Ellerson said.

None of the Mids want to be associated with a team that ended the streak.

“The 10 wins have been awesome. But this year is even bigger than all those because it actually means something with the CIC,” Navy linebacker Brye French said.

There’s more football left for Navy after today’s tradition-filled spectacle. The Mids play Arizona State in the Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29 in San Francisco.

The Midshipmen have been worried daily over the health of third-string quarterback Ralph Montalvo. Montalvo was in a medically induced coma after he was critically injured in a car accident on Thanksgiving.

The Middies will show support for Montalvo by wearing a sticker that says “Rafi” on the back of their helmets.

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