Football is back and students are loving it

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Hannah Juneau/The Lion's Roar

A university cheerleader smiles at fans while she sells programs at the football game in Strawberry Stadium on March 6, 2021. Despite precautions put in place, fans showed their Lion pride with family and friends after 461 days since the last home game.

On Saturday, Lion fans returned to Strawberry Stadium for the long-awaited football home opener.   

Many were there to support the Lions as they crushed the McNeese State Cowboys 25-20 on March 6. After more than a year-long hiatus from football, students shared their thoughts on reuniting once again for a moment of celebration.

Sophomore marketing major Julia Matherne said it was nice being back in Strawberry Stadium. 

“It feels good to be back. It’s nice having this bit of normalcy, and it feels like I’m actually back at college,” she said.

Matherne said she believes college football games are a great way for students to connect with one another. 

She said, “The football games in college are just a good way for everyone to connect even if you don’t know each other. We are all having a great time together.”

Matherne said his favorite part about home football games is the energy from the crowd.

He said, “With the band and the cheerleaders, the student section is great because all of us are just having a great time. If we’re losing or not – it doesn’t matter because we are having fun.”

Freshman elementary education major Heather Lee is not used to college football games, but she prefers this atmosphere over a high school game.

She said, “I mean, of course it’s a college game, so it’s going to be bigger, but I feel like everyone’s more energetic and more into the game compared to high school because high school is small, and there’s not as many people coming out of town to watch the game.”

Compared to past home games, Lee said that this home game has a much bigger audience with more love and support to share.

Lion fans “Lion Up” and show their support for the football team at the “Solid Gold Saturday” 2019 Southland Conference opener in Strawberry Stadium on Sept. 21, 2019. The Lions defeated the Lamar University Cardinals 45-34. (File Photo/The Lion’s Roar)

“The entire atmosphere is very fun and energetic. I feel like everyone is just positive. Even when we struggle in a game, everyone’s just kind of rooting for each other, and it’s a bonding experience,” she shared.

Senior marketing major Joshua Ballard shared that being back at Strawberry Stadium reminded him of his freshman and sophomore year.

He said, “Being able to cheer on the Lions again was special, especially considering we were able to beat one of our in-state rivals. There was a sense of nostalgia that brought me back to my freshman and sophomore year, and it was exhilarating.”

The main difference was the extra support at the game on Saturday, which may be due to the prolonged period of not being in the stadium, according to Ballard.

Ballard said he loves getting to bond with his fraternity brothers as they support the school together.

“We, of course, miss being able to tailgate and walk in together after, but we understand the circumstances, and we’re very glad to be back in the Berry,” Ballard said.

Ballard said that he is looking forward to seeing senior quarterback Cole Kelley and junior wide receiver CJ Turner put a show on the offensive side and that Head Football Coach Scelfo has set the program in the right direction.

Students will get another chance to cheer on the Lions under the Strawberry Stadium lights as the team takes Northwestern State on March 13.