When it rains, it pours.
But that did not stop Fort Meade from hosting its 18th annual Army-Navy Flag Football game Tuesday afternoon at Mullins Field.
Despite dark clouds, heavy rain and chilly temperatures, Army and Navy went head to head on the drenched, muddy field.
As the players got down and dirty, about 100 die-hard fans bundled up under three tents.
Even Baltimore Ravens cheerleader Brianna and the mascot Poe came to show their support, mingling with fans as they huddled under the tents.
“It’s a great day for football,” Brianna said jokingly.
“This is my first time here and I’m excited to be here.”
About 45 minutes before the start of the game, fans of both teams enjoyed a tailgate hosted by the Central Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee.
The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation provided the free food, which included chili, hamburgers, hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches.
Despite the variety of foods, the big hit was the hot coffee. It was gone an hour before the game ended.
As disc jockey Angie D played the latest hits, several fans danced to shake off the cold.
“I’m here for support of the Army and Navy,” said Maribeth Dulaney of Ellicott City, who came with a friend. “I don’t really care who wins. I’m just here to enjoy the festivities.”
The game started off close as both teams tied 7-7 in the first quarter.
However, Army was able to pull away late in the second quarter, defeating Navy 19-13.
“The Navy put up a great fight, but they couldn’t hang,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Wingo, who played running back.
Army Staff Sgt. Keith Whitfield led his team to victory as quarterback, throwing two touchdown passes.
“It’s great to whip up on the Navy after they talked so much trash on the sideline,” Whitfield said.
After the win, some members of the Army team took a celebratory dive into the muddy puddles on the field.
“It was a great day to play in the mud,” Wingo said.
Whitfield, who was named MVP, said he was proud of Army’s showing on the field.
“If it wasn’t for everyone’s great performance, I wouldn’t be the MVP,” he said. “So I’m happy.”
After the game, Lt. Col. Gittipong Paruchabutr, commander of Headquarters Command Battalion, presented the Army team with a trophy.
“This feels great,” said Staff Sgt. Lloyd Stone of the Army team. “It’s always a great day when you beat the Navy.”