It was an evening of moments Sept. 20 at the 2019 Army Bowl, the infamous football game between Fort Campbell High School’s Falcons and the Fort Knox High School’s Eagles.
A touchdown with less than nine seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter sealed the deal on the Eagles’ win, breaking a 16-year losing streak, on Fort Campbell’s home turf — Fryar Stadium. The final score stood 19-10, but the entire game was a major battle for both determined teams.
“I won’t lie, it’s a great feeling, it’s a weight off our shoulders,” said Fort Knox Football Coach Wes Arnold. “Fort Campbell has a great football program, so to win against them, that’s no small feat. To break the losing streak and see all the excitement from the team, it makes it all worth it.”
The Falcons fought hard throughout the game, and never gave up. The Fort Campbell community stuck behind their team, rallying behind them throughout the night.
“I think our guys did a great job,” said Falcons Coach Josh Robins. “We do feel bad for the community. We feel like we’ve let them down. I appreciate everything the community has done for the boys, and that is what is most important.”
This game in particular was incredibly exhilarating from the moment it began until the very end, as both teams gave it their all.
“It’s one of those things, when you play somebody so many times, and with such a long winning streak, you tend to overlook them,” Robins said. “I don’t believe we had a great week of preparing, we have a lot of new guys, and we need to learn how to put everything together in the week of the game.”
Moving forward, the game will certainly be a learning experience for the Falcons as they take on the rest of their season.
“As I told the team in the locker room after the game, we can only control what we can directly control,” said Falcons Captain, Matthew Middleton Jr. “We have to prepare better. We assumed this was just going to be another game on our schedule. We have to get to work. We have a tough road ahead of us.”
The team took the loss hard, but the players hope to grow from the experience.
“If you had insight into the locker room after the game, you would see that we knew we didn’t play close to our potential,” Middleton said.
“We let it slip away, but again that goes back to practice and how we prepared, and we prepared like it was going to be a walk in the park. This was a tough team, a team on a mission.”
Robins believes this game will help propel his team into the right direction moving forward in the season.
“We have to keep our heads up and come ready to work every day,” he said. “We need to take things a little more serious, working hard and moving in the right direction.”
At the end of the day, despite the tradition of rivalry and friendly-competition between the two teams, the main purpose of the game was to bring two Army communities together for a night of fun.
“This is the most unique game in American football, hands down,” Arnold said. “Both sides, all of these kids have gone through a lot. They are the most resilient kids, they’ve been through deployments, moving and everything else. Giving them this normalcy of a football game is such a cool thing to be a part of, it’s a game like no other.”