ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—This weekend’s Army/Navy game is a tradition bordering on the sacred. Even the game ball has a special way of getting into the stadium.

Gigi Barnett explains how Navy Midshipmen and Army Cadets hand deliver it.

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The football will be at the center of a century-old battle on the gridiron this weekend at the 114th Army-Navy game in Philadelphia.

Navy Midshipmen in the academy’s 13th company will relay run it all the way to the City of Brotherly Love.

“It just adds to the spirit of the whole Army-Navy rivalry,” said Kalli Schulz, Navy Midshipman.

The tradition started back in 1982 to get the unlucky company 13 off Naval Academy grounds.

Former Captain Matthew Sharpe ran the first run back then. He says the company is the lucky one now.

“It’s fun to see this kind of recognition and organization and to see young men and women who want to be party of this. That is one element of team spirit that this school breeds so well,” Sharpe said.

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The race is 135 miles long. Each leg is 10 miles. Yes, they run it overnight.

“I remember when I was a plebe and running it. I ran from 12 (midnight) to 2 (a.m.) at night. It was the most fun I had,” Schulz said.

Army Cadets are making the same run down to Philadelphia from West Point with their ball.

Before the run, there’s a brief prayer, and the first team of runners is off.

The Army-Navy ball is on the way.

You can catch the Army-Navy game Saturday at 3 p.m. on WJZ.

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