The first home football game brought out the best of Huskie Nation

Malcolm Gaynor, Sports Editor

As the Huskie football team sprinted out of the tunnel, the crowd erupted. Students jostled each other for positioning and craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the action from the hectic student section. Huskie stadium was packed, just as it was for opening day. However, the rivalry matchup against Portage Central supplied a much different energy.

“On opening day, everyone was rooting for us and everyone was excited and happy,” said junior fullback and linebacker Greg Lapetina. “But the PC game is a huge rivalry, so it was more of a hate and angry feeling going into that game.”

The bitter rivalry lead to a close game, but the Huskies fell just short 21-20 after taking a convincing lead in the first half.

Junior Tyler Amos and sophomore Anthony Tyus dominated from the ground in the first half, combining for all three of the Huskie scores. The defense also played well, forcing multiple turnovers and holding the Mustangs to 14 first half points.

“I thought we ran the football very well on offense and at times play dominant defense,” said head coach Pete Schermerhorn.

The football team was not the only group who felt the intense emotional difference of the rivalry.

“The opener felt more celebratory, less about the football and more about experiencing the new stadium as a whole,” said head Superfan Linus Mallet. “The PC game was much more intense and interactive with the fans, it was truly an exciting football game.”

Alongside the Superfans, the cheerleaders also worked extremely hard to positively impact the game. “One of our jobs as cheerleaders is to get the fans involved and pumped to win so when the crowd is excited we get hit with all the radiating energy and it just makes the game more fun for everyone,” said junior Alyssa Eidson. “We get really pumped and excited to see them do well, and when they aren’t, yes the team gets a little less energetic, but we try to turn that around by getting the players, the crowd and ourselves in the spirit to win.”

Finally, the presence of the Portage Central band also created another unique competitive aspect. “We got the chance to show our rival school what we do, and it always encourages some friendly competition,” said junior drum major Steven Bowe. As the visitors, the Portage Central band played before the game, and the Huskies performed at halftime.

Despite the difficult loss, the team now only has one focus in mind: next Friday’s home game against East Lansing. “We always look to learn from our past but stay focused on her future,” said Schermerhorn. “That is what we intend to do.”

Catch the Huskies in action next at home on Friday, September 14 against the East Lansing Trojans.