The storied Shepherd football team has enjoyed a season of firsts for many of the team and, as expected of the Division 2 powerhouse, currently hold a record of 7-1. This is good enough to be ranked 11th in the country right behind Northwest Missouri State.
Although it is the two aforementioned teams who sit atop the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference in rankings, it’s a different conference foe, the West Chester Golden Rams, who attempted to derail the season for Shepherd in Saturday’s Homecoming game.
While any coach or player will tell you that “Every game is a big game,” or “We treat every game the same no matter the circumstance.” There’s no denying that there is a different energy in the stadium air for Homecoming weekend. And Shepherd managed to pull out the win over West Chester, 42 to 38.
As with most things, COVID-19 put a stop to the usual festivities of all our fall sports here at Shepherd which, unfortunately, included the traditional Homecoming weekend. Homecoming weekend is much more to a community than a football game.
This year during Homecoming weekend Oct 21-23 Shepherd University and Shepherdstown as a whole celebrated the University’s 150th Anniversary and it was welcomed with events and activities all weekend for the public, students and alumni alike to enjoy; capped off by the football game.
With this being the first Homecoming since 2019, I asked some people who have been around Campus what they remember and loved about homecoming. Brennan Holmes, a senior here at Shepherd, remembered his first Homecoming here in 2018: he explained, “It was a very cool experience for me. My high school didn’t treat homecoming like a very big deal so to come here and see how the community was on Saturday for the football game was really awesome, plus I think the football team did really well and won by a lot that day too.” (Which they did with a whopping 61-21 victory of Concord.)
When asked what he looks forward to this year Holmes said, “I hope it just stays mostly how it was, everyone coming together, tailgating and all the alumni and old students and athletes coming back, that would be really cool.”
Homecoming has a long history throughout the fabric of the American college experience and football that dates back to the late 19th century in some accounts. However, according to shows like Jeopardy! and Trivial Pursuit, the first true Homecoming weekend and game was held in 1911 in Missouri.
That weekend The University of Missouri Tigers would take on The Kansas Jayhawks in their rivalry game known as “The Border War.” The Missouri athletic director, Chester Brewer, wanted to increase attendance for the game so he invited all the alumni to “come home” for the game. In addition, they organized a parade and a spirit rally both of which Shepherd is offering this weekend as well.
In addition to the festivities mentioned above there was also the SUAA 30th Annual Golf tournament held at Cress Creek on Friday as well as an Alumni Breakfast and Parade on Saturday morning. The game commenced at noon Saturday.