Navy guard Evan Martin stands for the playing of the fight song following Navy’s 14-13 loss in the 118th playing of the Army-Navy game. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Simone Askew leads the 4,400-member Corps of Cadets in the ceremonial “March On.” Askew is the first African American woman to hold the highest student position at the Military Academy. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Army-Navy is more than a football game. The pageantry, gritty battles and pure emotion are what makes me want to come back year after year. As a photographer, you always want your photos to have valuable content, good composition and emotion. The Army-Navy contests provide all of the above.

From the the Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets marching onto the field and the classic battles unfolding on the field, to the game ending with players from both teams coming together, there are few events like it in sports today. No matter who wins, the players congratulate and admire one another. The game lives up to the hype as “America’s Game.” After this game, many players will be going on to their military careers, and they will be playing for the same team.

Army and Navy first met on the gridiron on Nov. 29, 1890. The game is a college rivalry between the Army Black Knights of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the Navy Midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. The game marks the end of the regular college football season. Navy has won the contest 59 times, Army has won 49 times, and there have been seven ties. The game has been held at several locations but has most frequently been played in Philadelphia, roughly equidistant from the two academies.

The 118th Army-Navy game on Dec. 9 was an instant classic, with driving snow, blustery winds and poor field conditions. Both quarterbacks, Ahmad Bradshaw for Army and Navy’s Malcolm Perry, led their teams down to the wire. With three seconds on the clock, Navy had a chance to redeem last year’s loss, but Bennett Moehring’s 48-yard field goal attempt missed left, and the Army celebration erupted. The retiring superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., was right in the middle of the action, being hoisted on shoulders as members of the Corps rushed the field.

Despite being wet, cold and exhausted as I walked off the field, I can’t wait for next year.

Navy safety Isaac Wright leads the team onto the field. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Members of the Brigade of Midshipmen spell out revenge after their 2016 loss to Army. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry breaks for a first down against Army. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Army quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw is stopped by the Navy defense. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Members of the Corps of Cadets celebrate a touchdown. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Members of the Corps of Cadets celebrate a fourth-quarter touchdown by Army quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw to seal their win. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Navy place kicker Bennett Moehring misses a 48-yard field goal attempt as time runs out in Navy’s 14-13 loss to Army. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Army linebacker James Nachtigal is mobbed as students rush the field following their win. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

A member of the Corps of Cadets makes a snow angel in the end zone after the Army win over Navy. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, is hoisted by the team and cadets following their win over Navy. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

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