In the beginning of the first half of the University of Maine’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) annual flag football game, second-year student Mark Talvacchia who had just made an interception that was nothing if not tremendous for Naval ROTC — said, “Army won last time. But that’s not happening again this year.”
It ended up that Talvacchia was proven wrong, but it wasn’t until Army ROTC second-year Ryan Gervais made a touchdown shortly thereafter that that became the case. When Joe Collias made his first touchdown for Army in the first half of the game, he said, “It’s just really great to get out here and have a fun, competitive game with our Naval counterparts.”
At UMaine, Army ROTC and Naval ROTC — which is a joint program between the UMaine Naval ROTC, Maine Maritime Academy and the Marine Options program — have competed for the last two years. And much to the Naval ROTC’s chagrin, Army has taken the trophy every time thus far.
The first Naval touchdown was met with uproarious applause. Trenton Lloyd-Reese, third-year Maine Maritime student, called himself a “proud spectator” and joined in the camaraderie when Naval ROTC made its second touchdown after other numerous, impressive touchdowns.
Among the Naval ROTC sweatshirts that read “Don’t Tread On Me” were referees’ whistles and fans’ airhorns, cowbells and flag-flying to celebrate the athleticism and natural competition between Army and Naval ROTC that has existed for over a century.
“This is a tradition that goes all the way back to the rivalry between West Point and the Naval Academy … the Army-Navy game is a really important [one],” fourth-year battalion leader William McDonald said.
McDonald continued, “Every single day of the week I spend with these guys,” referring to his peers in Army ROTC. When Lieutenant Colonel Davis decided to bring the Army-Navy rivalry to UMaine, he did so because of his love of football and the rivalry between the Army and Naval ROTC on the UMaine campus. The University of Maine ROTC program has hosted the Army and Naval rivalry in the Mahaney Dome for the past two years.
Notable players included Evan Murray, who played as quarterback alongside Nick Kamara at times, as well as David Audet and Gervais, all of whom scored touchdowns during the match for Army ROTC.
The college rivalry exists between the Army Black Knights of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York and the Navy Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. It can be dated back to 1890, when the two teams played consistently until November 1927 in cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York City. The game was originally played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but now takes place on the second Saturday in December. Winners of the UMaine annual flag football match are rewarded with a trophy and, more importantly, bragging rights.