Saturday was the opening day of the college football season. Furman didn’t have a game, so we decided to join the rest of the family to watch my two nephews play their first game with Newberry College. It was also the first time that Newberry would play as the Wolves, having had to change their mascot from the Indians because of NCAA rules.
We started the day with a visit to the parents in Prosperity, then headed up the game. My sister, Ann, had set up a tent, and we had all the fixings for a huge tailgate. Most of my siblings and their families were able to make it to the game and the tailgate
Mason Taylor was wearing his father’s number 16 jersey. Eddie had succumbed to cancer this summer, and this was Mason’s way of memorializing him. Mason would also be taking over his father’s old spot as place kicker for the team, albeit not this game. Mason had his tonsils out a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t up to full steam. Instead, he would be taking the snap for the kicker.
Josh Moseley started his college career as a Furman Paladin. We hated to lose him from Furman, but he wasn’t getting any playing time. He transferred to Newberry, where this season he would get be on the defensive line and center for the kicking team. In short, one cousin would be hiking the ball to the other one any time they would need a point after touchdown. That turned out to be quite a few times in this game.
Laura and I commented that this was the first college game for both of in over 20 years that didn’t involve Furman. In fact, the last one I had attended was also a Newberry game, back when Eddie was playing. It’s interesting to see the different traditions each school brings to their games.
The opponent for the evening was Livingstone College in Salsbury, North Carolina. Livingstone is a historically black college, and has only had it’s football program for three years. So, for the first time, the Blue Bears would be taking on the Red Wolves.
Our family staked out a section in the stands. The stadium was crowded, and this was not a good thing. From what I could tell, most of it was open seating. However, there seemed to be only one way in or out of the stands – one narrow passage at the end. It looked like a disaster waiting to happen.
There was never any question about the outcome of the game. Newberry decimated Livingstone. Since there were so many touchdowns, Josh got to hike the ball to Mason for just as many points after. The score at half-time was 35-0.
The Newberry cheerleaders were right in front of us. Ann gave them grief on the team’s first possession because they started cheering “Defense!” instead of “Offense!” They got that sorted out, but still looked like they weren’t entirely comfortable with their new mascot. I know the fans around me wanted to substitute the word “Indians” for “Wolves.”
The Blue Bears’ cheerleaders, on the other hand, brought much more attitude and fight than their football team did. Their stance was aggressive, and they even face the opposing side rather than their own fans.
At some point during the half Dad got up to socialize. Having been a minister and school official for so long he seems to know everyone, and a Newberry game was no different. At one point Newberry’s new president, Scott Koernwer, came over to say hello and chat with us. He was making the rounds through the stands, introducing himself.
Our family actually has quite a long history with Newberry College. Dad graduated from there in 1949, as well as a couple of his siblings. My two younger sisters went there, in addition to my brother-in-law and the two nephews who are currently attending.
At half-time we decided we had seen enough carnage. We stayed to hear the band’s one song, then headed back to our tailgate area for a a bit. After that, it was back up the interstate to Greenville. We enjoyed our time with family, and it was fun to visit another school, but I’m ready for Furman football and our own traditions.