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Sal Interdonato | The Times Herald-Record | December 7, 2017

Brotherly love tested for Army, Navy football in Philadelphia

WEST POINT -- Ethan Palelei and his teammates will touch a plaque with the famous Gen. George C. Marshall quote as part of Army football tradition Saturday afternoon.

RELATED: Live updates from Army-Navy

The plaque reads, "I want an officer for a secret and dangerous mission. I want a West Point football player."

Palelei's mission sent him to San Diego earlier this year. The Army junior guard sneaked into his older brother Evan's home and replaced all of the baby clothes with Army clothes for his future niece or nephew.

It wasn't long ago when Ethan was in the stands cheering for Evan in one of college football's most-storied rivalries. Evan was a two-year starting defensive end for Navy (2012-2013). The Midshipmen's winning streak over Army reached 12 games by time Evan graduated and was extended to 14 before it was broken by Ethan and the Black Knights last December.

"Honestly, my brother is the toughest guy in the house," Ethan Palelei said of Evan. "Watching him play and the way that whole program worked every day was inspiring because it was my brother. Now, it's time to slay the dragon."

MORE: Niumatalolo brings Midshipmen team to forefront of service academies

Pranks have become a big part of the Army-Navy rivalry within the Palelei family. Ethan changed all of the napkins to ones printed with "Go Army" for Evan's wedding reception. The ribbing branches beyond the brothers. Constance, Ethan and Evan's sister, is married to Maika Polamalu, a former Navy football player.

"We have a great time with it," said Lonnie Palelei, the boys' father, who played six seasons in the NFL with the Steelers, Giants, Jets and Eagles. "The boys, even though they graduated from Navy, they really root for West Point because of my son. On that one Saturday, I'm sure they give it to him.

"It's a great rivalry and in my house it illustrates how these boys fight each other for this game this one Saturday but they truly are brothers and they love each other."

This year's Army-Navy game will pit brother against brother. The Commander in Chief's Trophy and bragging rights are on the line between Army junior cornerback Zach Scott and Navy senior receiver Craig Scott.

Craig Scott Sr. will watch the game from the Navy side in the first half and the Army side in the second half. Zach walked on to the big squad after playing his freshman year for Army's sprint (lightweight) football team. Craig has caught two passes for 27 yards and a touchdown and is Navy's primary punt returner.

"It's all love between my brother and I," said Zach Scott, a reserve defensive back. "Once kickoff starts, we are enemies and we are fighting to see who can win, but at the end of the day that's my brother and I love him. There's definitely a lot of smack talk between us but at end of the day, it's all good."

This article is written by Sal Interdonato from The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to


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