BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s a rivalry that’s steeped in tradition. Army and Navy will square off for the 116th time Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium.
Both teams are putting in a lot of prep work, studying playbooks and coming up with a game plan.
But it’s not just football the midshipmen are prepping for. They also have to make sure their mascots are ready to go!
A doggie wash in Annapolis, the Bark ‘N’ Bean, has made way for Bill the goat to get a good washing in before the big game.
“We have the Army Navy game on Saturday, so that’s a big day for the goats,” says midshipman Jack Partlow. “They’ll probably be on national TV so we want them to look their best.”
The USNA’s 8th Company – “The Goat Squad” – is the keeper of the goats, so it’s their job to get them ready.
“It’s a really cool tradition to be a part of,” says midshipman David Bishop. “Not a lot of people can say they’ve woken up on a Sunday morning and washed goats in preparation for such an historic game.”
“We weren’t sure how it was going to pan out but the crew from the Naval Academy came here prepared with treats — especially peppermint candies, the goats really love the peppermint candy — so this year we were prepared and bought some Christmas candy canes for them,” says Bark ‘N’ Bean owner Theresa Mutlu.
“Of course, Bill is the only name we give our goats but gotta tell them apart somehow so we give them numbers, and right now we’re on 37,” says midshipman David Portner. “Recently, this year, we lost number 35 and so 36 needed some help on the field.”
Because Army has a history of stealing the goat before the big game, no one knows where the animals are kept leading up to it.
But, “these goats are pretty stubborn so they would be hard to convince to go anywhere,” says Partlow. “So we’re not too worried.”
Portner is not concerned, either.
“They’ve done it in the past but, under our watchful eye, they’re not going to get to Bill this year.”
The last time the goat was taken was in 2012. He was found tied to a median strip near the Pentagon.