FOXBORO -- The annual Army-Navy football clash is coming to Gillette Stadium next weekend, with New England set to host the game for the first time in the series' 124-year history.
Joe Cardona, who is a U.S. Naval Reserve Lieutenant when he isn't long snapping for the New England Patriots, couldn't be more excited to cheer on his Midshipmen next Saturday. But first, he had to spread the Navy's message while helping lead STEM activities for 60 students at the Ashfield Middle School in Brockton on Tuesday.
Cardona has used his status with the Navy and the Patriots to do a lot of great things throughout his nine-year career in the NFL. He's, and has been an incredible representation of the Naval Academy. His pride in his Navy roots led to , when Cardona stood at attention during a halftime enlistment ceremony on the field in Foxboro during the Patriots-Commanders game.
On Tuesday, he was more than happy to help local kids learn while developing some relationships to potentially attract some leaders of the future.
"The Naval Academy is really everything to me. I wouldn't be here today without the Naval Academy and the foundation that they built there, what they engrained in me," Cardona told WBZ-TV. "The values of honor, courage, and commitment really run through me. I'm really proud to be spreading the message here in Brockton today.
"I grew up in a Navy-heavy area in San Diego, so there was a lot of representation. Realizing the opportunity it meant to me and how I can bring it to communities around the country, and bring it to communities where representation from the Navy and Naval Academy aren't always seen -- to bring a STEM program here to Brockton and to get to shared the Naval Academy and NA minority association and all they do to these kids, I'm really excited," he added.
Cardona loves to participate in community events, just as he loves to take the field for the Patriots every weekend. But nothing is quite like the experience of the Army-Navy rivalry, and he's excited for the game and the atmosphere to take over Gillette Stadium next weekend.
"For Army-Navy to come to Gillette and New England, I'm thrilled. It's a special game, a special experience," he said. "I know the area couldn't be more excited for the event. I'm excited to share it and be a part of it here in New England."
The two schools have split their last four matchups, after Army won three straight from 2016-18. Before that though, it was all Navy, with the Midshipmen winning 14 straight starting in 2002.
Both teams head into this year's meeting at 5-6, with Army slight favorites.
"Go Navy, beat Army," Cardona added Tuesday.
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