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Soar, Falcons, Soar
Douglas S. Looney
November 11, 1985
We don't have the greatest athletes in the world," Air Force Academy football coach Fisher DeBerry said before the Falcons' game on Saturday against WAC rival San Diego State. "But, by gosh, we do have the greatest kids in the world. And, my goodness, they play just because they enjoy it...and because they are competitors who like knocking the snot out of somebody."
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November 11, 1985

Soar, Falcons, Soar

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Regardless, Air Force's offense is first in scoring nationally, averaging 39.2 points per game. That's due in large part to quarterback Bart Weiss, who is close to being infallible in judging whether to keep or pitch. Of course, no major school wanted him. "So I thought if I couldn't play for them, I might as well play against them," says Weiss. On Saturday, although the offense was often ragged, Weiss led the Falcons to 373 yards and ran for one TD himself. Kelly Pittman, a fine back whose major value ordinarily is his blocking ability, scored twice on two-and three-yard runs, and Tom Ruby kicked a 49-yard field goal.

But the day's decisive play came when cornerback Tom Rotello saw a 15-yard out pattern being run into his neighborhood at the top of the third quarter. Reading the play, he stepped inside the would-be receiver, picked the ball off and ripped 30 yards for the touchdown. That made it 24-3, and the Aztecs had their heads down from then on.

Like any good team, Air Force does, by golly, find a way. Consider: Nationally, the Falcons are ranked an unimpressive 41st in total defense, giving up 331.2 yards per game; even the error-prone Aztecs, now 3-5, got 308 yards. But in scoring defense the Falcons are eighth, yielding only 12 points per game. Hello, determination.

Perhaps Air Force's best player is safety Scott Thomas, who led the team with 11 tackles on Saturday and also had an interception. Asked if he was sad not to have a pro opportunity (Air Force graduates have a minimum active-duty requirement of five years), he shook his head, "The best job in the whole world is being a fighter pilot for the United States of America."

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