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Air Force and Army Clash Friday Night

irish rugby tours

Air Force and Army Clash Friday Night

The unofficial series between the Men’s Service Academy Rugby Teams is on the line Friday as Air Force travels to West Point to take on Army.

With Air Force already having beaten Navy, the Zoomies can sweep the series with a win over Army.

“We are all very excited about the game,” said Air Force Head Coach Joe Muehlbauer. “It’s always big to play Army and Navy. We are fortunate to be able to get out there.”

The AFA team is at the mercy of plane movements. When they travel long distances they often hitch a ride on an Air Force transport going that direction, and frequently share the space with equipment making the trip also. This is the case this week as a C-17 transport is on its way to New York. At least it’s a jet, which takes several hours less than a prop plane to make the journey.

“For some of the guys this will be their first time in a military flight,” said Muehlbauer. “It’s an adjustment. There’s no flight attendance. There are no comfy seats. You’re lined up and belted in and that’s it. It’s a good wakeup call for the guys who need to learn what these flights are like. Most will be wanting to be in the cockpit when they graduate, but it’s good for them to learn.”

On the field Air Force has been superb this fall, running in a pile of points and unleashing some talented players, including a few converts from football. The Zoomies defeated Navy 38-26 in Colorado Springs, and are currently 4-0 in the West DIA league, average 57 points a game.

Meanwhile Army has had a bit of a tougher road. They had tight games with Penn State, Iona, and Kutztown, and to their credit they have won all of them. With good goalkicking and a hard-nosed front eight, they lead the Rugby East and look set for an ACRC Bowl Game with Life University.

“We’re really very excited,” said Head Coach Mike Mahan. “We had a great game against Kutztown last week and now we have a service academy in here. Both men and women playing at home under the lights, it couldn’t be better. It’s almost beyond a conference or anything else. Kids like they are, they all have American passports and they’ve all learned rugby the same way we did, the hard way. It’s always a great match and the kids have a lot in common. It’s just wonderful.”

Led by the Army Athletic Association Athlete of the Week, Collum Magee, the Black Knights will play in the second game of the doubleheader. The women will kick things off against the Falcons at 6 pm, with the men to follow at 7:30 pm.

“We’re just looking to hang in there and hold our own. We’ll be at home and we think we have some advantages here that we intend to play up, but it’s going to be a tough match, it’s going to be very hard.”

During the game the Black Knights will sport jerseys which are reserved for competition against other service academies. The black jerseys feature military patches sent back from former members of the team. Players send back patches which are then sewn on to the jersey number they wore during their time at West Point.

In Friday’s action, both the men’s and women’s teams will be honoring “Think Pink,” to bring awareness to breast cancer, as a part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Both teams will be donning pink tape and using black and pink balls during the games.