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More importantly, the freshman enjoyed the same Army-Navy experience his teammates have become accustomed to — rushing to the locker room after the playing of the Navy alma mater rather than shuffling over to the other side of the field.

“You’re glad to sing that song second, because you got that ‘W,’ ” Copeland said.

That’s all Copeland knows. It’s all that Copeland’s teammates this year know. And it’s the only thing all of their former teammates know. Just 12 senior classes have left Navy with four victories over Army, including the past seven.

Little could be better for a Navy football player than finishing with a flawless mark against the Black Knights, even at the end of a sub-.500 season. Or, perhaps more accurately, especially at the end of a losing season.

“The big number for our seniors is that they leave here 4-0 against our rivals,” Niumatalolo said. “Those guys can leave here with their head up that they beat our rivals four times in a row. There’s not many classes that have come to the Naval Academy that have that honor or that distinction. It’s something they can carry with them for the rest of their lives and nobody can take it away from them.”