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October 31, 2013

Viti's watchful eye on fullback brotherhood

There is the Army football Brotherhood and within that team bond the brotherhood of fullbacks who've played the punishing role for the Black Knights.

Mike Viti lived them at Army from 2004 to 2007 as a 5-foot-10, 242-pounder from Berwick (Pa.) High. It's the reason Viti, now a civilian, is making his way to Colorado Springs to watch the Army-Air Force game at noon ET Saturday at Falcon Stadium.

"The game is critical," Viti said. "It means a lot to me, and I have made arrangements to attend. It is without a doubt one of my most cherished moments of my entire life. I love the brotherhood so much and Army Football that I want them to have a memory and moment that is equally significant to them."

For Army (3-5), it's the Black Knights' first test into the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy round-robin competition. Air Force (1-7) lost to Navy and needs the Army game to salvage a split and establish high-point to a disappointing season that has already eliminated the Falcons from bowl eligibility.

The rivalry game's final score will command Viti's attention, but he'll also be watching the play from the latest chapter of the brotherhood of fullbacks. Junior Larry Dixon is flirting with a 1,000-yard season. He has 600 yards for the season despite missing most of the Stanford game and all of the Wake Forest contest due to injury.

"I have followed and could not be more proud of the recent legacy and production from this group," Viti said. "Given the position is more and more unique to the sport as the years pass, I think it is a great tradition that makes Army Football even more special."

Viti played fullback in a different scheme under former head coach Stan Brock. His role was limited to short-yardage situations, but he produced. As a senior in 2007, he converted 16 of 18 third- or fourth-down plays that included a streak of 10 straight conversions.

He holds close the Army Brotherhood and his membership in the brotherhood of fullbacks.

"To me it means playing one of the toughest physical positions on either side of the ball and having an ability to positively affect the intensity, attitude, and grit of your football team," Viti said. "The position in itself demands physical toughness, a tremendous amount of tenacity, and balance which is a direct reflection of what Army Football is."

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