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Dartmouth, Army, Dig Out to Face Off

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Dartmouth, Army, Dig Out to Face Off

Dartmouth still hasn't been outside much. David Barpal photo.

Coming off a close loss to Navy, Dartmouth has to feel like things are looking up as the Big Green faces West Point this weekend.

“The last two months it’s been really tough to get outside and we don’t have a lot of space inside, so we’ve been training in small groups,” said Dartmouth Coach Gavin Hickie. “But even though we’ve lost a lot of guys to winter term internships, we’ve got a bunch of new players, and some guys who played football who look really good. We’re pretty pleased with how they’re playing considering they were playing their first game.”

Against Navy, Dartmouth fell behind 19-7, clawed back to lead 21-19 and then eventually lost 29-21. Dartmouth’s pace was impressive, and captain Jack Braun “basically dragged us back into the game,” said Hickie.

But the influx of athleticism from the football team is tempered by the fact that the players will be with the program for only a short time. Hickie is trying to teach them all he can.

West Point, meanwhile, run out for the first time this New Year, with big Donny Goff once again leading from the front at prop, and the every-exciting Jake Banarhall at scrumhalf. It’s a relatively settled side, with Peter Basnight at No. 8, Thomas Del Pino at flyhalf, and Andrew Fargo at outside center all in good form.

Army was 5-3 in the fall, and at times looked to be the strongest team in fall play, but also faltered at key moments - Iona, Kutztown, and Air Force were all losses and all happened in quick succession at the end of the fall. Head Coach Matt Sherman said the team feels they didn't quite live up to their own expectations in the final weeks of the fall, but now they have some important games to look to.

"Dartmouth's a phenomenal opponent," Sherman told GoArmy Sports. "[They're] very fit, very organized, well-coached. They'reresilient young men. They had Annapolis maybe on the ropes last week. So we've got our hands full. But for us it's about playing our best. We're really motivated to have a good performance Saturday."

This spring Army kicks off with Dartmouth, and then follows with a tour of Utah in mid-March, playing BYU and Utah. After that, it’s the final leg of the Commander in Chief Trophy, against Navy, before the Varsity Cup starts for both Army and Dartmouth.

Kickoff is noon ET at Anderson Rugby Complex at West Point. The game will also be shown live on Here.