Army-Navy Game 1942 (11-28-42)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 28, 1942)

War dwarfs nation’s big grid classic

Service teams play in restricted setting
By Leo H. Petersen, United Press sports editor

Annapolis, Maryland –
Citizens of this sleepy little village on the banks of the Severn treated the nation’s greatest football classic – Army vs. Navy – as just another game today.

So disinterested were those holding “squatters’ rights” for the 43rd annual renewal of Uncle Sam’s service teams that only 8.500 of Thompson Stadium’s 22,000 seats were sold until the ticket windows closed last night.

In previous years, the Army-Navy Game has drawn its spectators from all sections of the country, annually jamming some 102,000 into the giant Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia. But this year, government-imposed restrictions have limited those who can buy tickets to the 14,600 persons in Annapolis or within a 10-mile radius. The tariff was $4.40 a seat and perhaps the citizens of Annapolis regarded it as too high for the privilege of watching the Cadets and Middies in company of the highest officials of the Army and Navy.

Home-towners absent

Of the approximately 35,000 home-towners and their neighbors holding charter rights, less than a fourth of them were interested at the established rates.

Even old timers who could remember back to 1892 when Army and Navy last met here – the crowd was 10,000 and the score 6–4 for the Middies – were surprised at the lack of interest. There used to be more spirit displayed, they said, on the eve of the Navy squad’s departure for the game when it was played in Philadelphia.

So, when one of the best Army teams in years lines up against an in-and-out Navy eleven, the throng in the stadium will number less than 12,500. To add to the 8,500 ticket purchasers, there are 3,200 midshipmen, the players and out-of-town newspapermen, broadcasters and telegraphers.

Play for ‘keeps’

Army ruled a 14–5 choice and on the records that seemed about right. But of all the games in which records mean nothing this probably is tops, for, like Dead End Kids shooting marbles, this is one time when they play for keeps.

There have been a number of reports that came out of here on key Navy players being injured, ill or otherwise unfit. But all of them will be out there to try to make it four in a row over the Cadets – a feat which had never been accomplished in their long rivalry.

Despite the fact that some of the tinsel will be missing, nothing has been taken away from the game itself. Cdr. John Whelchel, Navy coach, was pessimistic, as usual, and said his team had “no business being on the same field

Coach Earl “Red” Blaik of Army said his team was ready:

…as fit as it has been all season. If we lose, we’ll have no excuses.

The Army team left West Point yesterday morning and stayed in a Baltimore hotel last night. Cdr. Whelchel sent his squad through a light signal drill as the West Pointers were traveling.

Although there will be no cadets present – except for two cheerleaders – Army will have a cheering section. The third and fourth midshipmen battalions, having lost the flip of coins, will be lending their tonsils – if not their hearts – to the Army.

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Uh… They do know they were at war right?

Why not find some IJN ships and do target practice with em… Or if they really want target practice The italian navy would do fine

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Well… I am an idiot… I read the title and assumed it was a naval war game practice. Sorry!

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The Pittsburgh Press (November 29, 1942)

Midshipmen spike big Cadet guns

By Leo H. Petersen

Annapolis, Maryland –
In a wartime setting that stripped the battle of all its usual trimmings, the Navy met the Army at football today and lived up to the tradition of the nation’s annual gridiron classic by winning a game it was supposed to lose.

The Navy won, 14–0, but even that margin of difference didn’t tell the story. For, fighting like their future comrades did in the Solomons, the Middies outplayed the favored Army team so widely that there was never any doubt from the opening kickoff as to their superiority.

And while the color of former years was missing, there wasn’t anything that Navy didn’t have today when it came to football.

All-Navy show

Playing before a hometown crowd, restricted under government regulations which shifted the game to Thompson Stadium from Philadelphia, the Middies ran, passed and kicked the Soldiers all over the field.

They threatened the first time they got their hands on the ball and although they didn’t score until the second quarter it was obvious that the Navy team was playing its game of the year. Except for two Army thrusts in the fourth quarter, they kept hammering away at Army’s goal line and never let the favored Cadets get underway.

The crowd of less than 12,000 – only 8,500 of them paying customers under the charter which permitted only residents of Annapolis and within a 10-mile radius to purchase tickets – sensed an upset in the making soon after the kickoff.

Gold braid missing

It was an unusual setting for this ancient gridiron rivalry. All the gold braid, the high Navy, Army and government officials were missing. So were the Cadets, but to make up for that the Naval Academy loaned two battalions of Midshipmen to the Army for a cheering section, and even went so far as to rent a mule from a farmer living down the road so the soldiers would have a mascot.

But it didn’t help the Army team, which having dropped only two games this year, was a 3–1 favorite. So far, the first time in thee 43 years in which they have met., the Sailors made it four in a row over their fighting comrades.

Four backs – Hal Hamberg, Hillis Hume, Joe Sullivan and David Barksdale – made the different. The first three alternated in carrying and throwing the ball. Barksdale cleared the way for them and, when Army had the ball, was so outstanding on defense that he made nearly half the Navy tackles.

The Navy showed it meant business when it got the ball after Army could not capitalize on the opening kickoff.

After running plays carried to the Army 34, the Middies decided to try their air arm. The strategy backfired for Hank Mazur intercepted a pass on the Army 26 and Navy’s first threat was over.

But Army could go nowhere, so the Sailors started another march. This one carried to the Army 27, where another interception broke up the attack.

Just before the period ended, thanks to a 43-yard run by Ben Martin, Navy was knocking on the door again, reaching the Army three. But the soldiers braced the took the ball on downs inches from the goal line.

The Middies came right back, but this time a fumble a foot from the goal line stopped them. Next, they drove to the Army five where the Army held for downs.

Army kicked out and this time the Middies didn’t stop until they scored. Gordon Studer took the kick on the Army 32 and ran it to the four. Three plays later, Sullivan went over and Oreal Crepeau, Navy’s place-kicking specialist, converted.

That was all until midway in the third period. Taking a Navy punt on its own 19, Army took to the air and it was costly. Hume intercepted Mazur’s pass on the Army 35 and carried the ball to the 22. Hamberg then passed to Martin who caught the ball on the six and went over unmolested. Crepeau again converted.