Weir High graduate excited to experience Army-Navy grid game
Tyler Komorowski has experienced it before. Last year, actually.
But, the Weir High graduate will get a completely different look at the 117th Army-Navy game Saturday at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.
Komorowski — a true freshman — will be in uniform for the Army Cadets when they take the field against the Midshipmen.
“I have thought about how cool and surreal it’s going to be,” Komorowski said during a phone interview this week. “To be on that field, taking part in a game that millions of people are watching and means so much to so many people is awesome.”
When people talk about college football rivalries immediate ones that come up are Ohio State-Michigan, Florida-Florida State, Auburn-Alabama, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State and more. However, few — including those mentioned — match up to Army and Navy. After all, the game has its own weekend on the schedule.
“In my opinion, this is the best (rivalry) in all of college football,” Komorowski said. “It just means so much more than other games. There’s so much tradition to it.”
Komorowski admitted it wasn’t until Army started recruiting him that he really dug into the rivalry. But even before, watching the annual clash was always on his agenda.
“Seeing it live was really cool,” Komorowski said. “This is the biggest game of the year (for both teams). There’s so much respect in this rivalry, but there’s also some bitterness, too. It’s like the season comes down to this game.”
Army is just 5-7 on the season and a 9-point underdog to Navy. Don’t think for a minute that matters.
“Our plan is to win,” Komorowski said. “We don’t care what analysts say or what the spread is. We’re determined to win and we’ve prepared that way this week.”
Komorowski is a reserve defensive lineman for Army and has appeared in just one game, which was a win over UMass. He earned a spot on the travel team for the Cadets’ last game, which was at Hawaii. He was slowed early in the season by an injury.
“The season has been a good experience, overall,” Komorowski said. “To be able to work my way back from the early season injury to getting into a game has been like a dream. It’s just been a great opportunity for me. I’ve had a great senior class to learn from — both in terms of football — and the ways of the academy. I am truly grateful to be here.”
Komorowski earned his trip to Amherst for the UMass game by earning ‘Scout Team Player of the Week.’ He then earned rave reviews from the coaching staff and received the “Outstanding Defensive Finisher” award. Army head coach Jeff Monken wrote on his twitter, “Great future ahead for Tyler.”
“I just wanted to make the most of my opportunity,” Komorowski said. “I feel like my (football) future is bright here. I just have to continue to work hard and let the rest fall into place.”
Whether it’s the admission process, the schedule or academic demands, attending a service academy isn’t like most colleges. Komorowski — almost an entire semester in — is still adjusting.
“Life (in an academy) is difficult at first, but you do start to get used to it,” Komorowski admitted. “We’re up every day at 6 a.m., classes all morning, since I am a freshman I have duties to do, then practice, study hall and then get ready to do it again. There are long days, but it just becomes part of your routine.”
Komorowski, who will declare a major in the spring semester, will have finals when he returns to West Point from Philadelphia next week.
Here’s a look at other area products:
CHUCKWUDI CHUCKWU, Ohio — Linsly School product will wrap up his collegiate career when he and the Bobcats trek to Boise to take part in the Famous Idaho Potao Bowl to take on Nevada on Jan. 3.
MANDELLA LAWRENCE-BURKE, Kent — The Steubenville product will be on the field for the Frisco Bowl against Utah State one week from today.
CAITLYN KROLL, Ohio — Bridgeport grad played 27 minutes and scored four points, while collecting three rebounds in a win over IUPUI.
JENSEN CARETTI, Ohio State — River grad didn’t dress once again in the Buckeyes win over Louisville.
ANGELA STAFFILENO, Duquesne — Brooke product scored three points in a win over Toledo and then scored two points in a win over Cornell.
LILLY RITZ, Wheeling — Cambridge grad scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while blocking two shots in a win over West Virginia Wesleyan last weekend. She turned in a dominant effort against West Virginia State, scoring 27 points and posting 19 rebounds.
MORGAN BRUNNER, West Liberty — Linsly School product scored 13 points and had four rebounds in a win over Davis & Elkins last Saturday. In a loss to Charleston, on Wednesday, she scored 23 points and yanked down five rebounds.
MONICA BRAGG, West Liberty — Madonna product didn’t appear against Davis & Elkins. Against Charleston, she scored six points.
EMILY HOLZOPFEL, Wheeling –Buckeye Local grad made a start, played 27 points and scored four points in the win over Wesleyan. In a win over West Virginia State, she scored two points, but grabbed 11 rebounds.
KELSI CHAPMAN, Wheeling — Magnolia product played in last weekend’s victory against Wesleyan.
VIVIAN ALLISON, Mercyhurst — Linsly grad started and scored two points in a win over West Chester.
TAYLOR DUPLAGA, Fairmont State — Wheeling Central grad scored four points in limited minutes during a victory at West Virginia State. She played against Concord.
LAUREN FLANNERY, Lake Erie — River grad scored five points and had two rebounds in a loss to Cedarville. She followed that up with two points, three rebounds and two assists.
ANNA DEFILIPPO, Cedarville — St. Clairsville product scored two points in eight minutes of action in a win over Lake Erie.
ALLI DELANEY, Waynesburg — Union Local alum scored six points and had three rebounds in a loss to Chatham last Saturday.
KALLEE DOWLER, Westminster (Mo) — Barnesville grad scored 13 points in only 12 minutes of action off the bench in a loss to Iowa Wesleyan.
RILEIGH SIMPSON, Muskingum — St. Clairsville alum scored two points, yanked down eight rebounds in 27 minutes of action during a loss to Baldwin-Wallace.
ALLISON KUHN, Bethany — Monroe Central grad stuffed the stat sheet in a Bison win this past Wednesday. She scored 10 points, collected eight rebounds and passed out seven assists.
KELSIE MEINTEL, Bethany — Cameron alum scored 11 points and had eight rebounds in a win over Penn State New Kensington.
CHASE HARLER, West Virginia — Wheeling Central grad scored six points during the Mountaineers loss to St. John at Madison Square Garden.
LOGAN ROUTT, West Virginia — Cameron product played sparingly in the Mountaineers loss to St. John.
PRESTON BOSWELL, West Liberty — Magnolia product scored 10 points and had six rebounds in a win over Davis & Elkins last weekend. He scored three points in a loss to Charleston on Wednesday.
PHIL BLEDSOE, Glenville — Wheeling Park grad continued his monster season, scoring 26 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in a win over Urbana. He scored 21 points and collected nine rebounds in a win over Notre Dame and was subsequently named Mountain East Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season. In a Wednesday win, he poured in 31 points and grabbed 13 more rebounds.
LUKAS ISALY, Marietta — River product scored six points in a win for the undefeated Pioneers last weekend.
TRENTON TIPTON, Wooster — Union Local alum scored 12 points in a win over Wabash last weekend. Wooster is off until Dec. 15 and 16 when it takes part in a tournament in Daytona Beach.
CALEB REA, West Virginia — Weir High grad continues to be in the Mountaineer starting lineup, but dropped a 12-1 major decision during a dual against Buffalo.
TARIQ WILSON, N.C. State — Steubenville product finished seventh place in the prestigious Cliff Keen Invitational last weekend in Las Vegas.
DALTON HOOVER, McEndree — The Martins Ferry graduate went 1-2 in the Jim Koch Invitational in Wisconsin last Saturday.
TRACK AND FIELD
COLE LAROCHE, Ashland — Bellaire grad made his collegiate debut at the Findlay Oiler Invite. He competed unattached, but threw 50 feet in the weight throw and marked 50-ft-7 in the shot put.
CHRISTIAN OBERDICK, West Liberty — Former St. Clairsville Red Devil set a Hilltopper record when he won the 60M hurdles in 8.65 at a meet at West Virginia. He also ran a leg on the winning 4×4.
ETHAN SECRIST, West Liberty — Brooke product finished second to his teammate in the 60M hurdles in 8.69. He won the 60M dash in 7.13.
BRAEDYN MIHALIC, Marietta — St. Clairsville competed in the 55M at the Marietta First Glimpse meet, running a 7.02. He also ran the 200M and placed eighth.
LUKE WATT, Marietta — St. Clairsville grad — fresh off a football season with the Pioneers — began his track season in the pole vault, clearing 10-6 at the Marietta meet.
CHASE STILLION, Muskingum — Buckeye Trail grad finished fifth in the Marietta First Glimpse meet, soaring over 12-5 1/2.
ZACH EKEY, Wheeling — Steubenville product — also coming off a football season — finished second in the shot put with a mark of 48-3 1/4 in the Marietta meet.
KELLEN TROPECK, Charleston — Oak Glen product finished third at Marietta in the shot put with a mark of 45-2 1/2. He was fourth in the weight throw at 45-4 1/4.
McKAYLA KINEMOND, Wheeling — Shadyside grad finished second in the Marietta meet in the 800, running 2:49.09.
ALLISON LOASE, Marietta — Union Local product placed third in the pole vault at Marietta with clearance of 10-2.
EMILY BAIRE, Wheeling — St. Clairsville product finished fourth in the long jump at Marietta with a mark of 15-8 3/4.
KYLIE CUTLIP, Cincinnati — Buckeye Trail grad finished third at a meet at the University of Kentucky in the 500 meter dash with a time of 1:19.15. She also ran on the third-place 4×4 team.
Staskey can be reached via email at email@example.com or at twitter.com/TLSportsSeth