Around 3,000 attendees showed support for the UC football team in a tight match that the Pioneers lost in overtime.
Co-written by Kaitlyn Tambasco, Managing Editor
The highlight of the Homecoming weekend, the UC football home game brought approximately 3,000 people to the Charles A. Gaetano Stadium last Saturday, Oct. 19.
The Pioneers faced Morrisville in a very close game that kept the audience tied to their seats during the whole experience. Eventually, the UC team fell by a 54-51 score after three hours of intense football.
For head coach Blaise Faggiano, seeing his team play during Homecoming gave him extra motivation, especially when seeing former players and alumni coming back.
“Homecoming at Utica College has been pretty unique for me,” Faggiano said. “It’s definitely one of the best Homecoming atmospheres I’ve been around in my time as a college coach.”
Having the opportunity of playing during Homecoming weekend is something that the Pioneers embrace although Faggiano admitted that it can also be a distraction.
“They need the ability to stay focused,” he said. “In a game like that, it’s all about who makes fewer mistakes.”
While he regrets losing only by a score, Faggiano admitted that it was an “exciting” and “crazy” game.
“Unfortunately, we lost in overtime but it was a great effort by both teams. We have tough kids who played their hearts out.”
Faggiano also stated that one of the secrets for his team’s popularity is the fact that they are not just good students and football players but they also do a lot of community service and many of the players are involved in different campus organizations.
After weeks of hard work, seeing his team lose is a “heartbreak,” because the players care so much, Faggiano said.
“They are really emotionally and physically invested,” he said. “Whether you win or lose, you don’t have much time to either celebrate or be upset before the next game because we only have a week so your whole week of work goes into one game.”
Like any coach, Faggiano said he enjoys winning because “when you lose, you die a little inside.” However, he sees defeat as an opportunity of teaching his guys about life, dealing with adversity and to keep moving forward.
Running Back Jamarious Morgan said he felt relaxed and his ability to focus led to his great performance on the field scoring two rushing touchdowns.
Morgan said it was a very good game and added that even though the team had a few mistakes, he is still “very proud of his teammates.”
Having 3,000 people watching the game did not have an effect on Morgan, a junior, who said he felt “no pressure at all” and that it was great to see his friends and family supporting him.
Morgan also agreed with his coach saying that he and the team does not really think about the game after losing and that it is easy for him to move forward and pay attention to the next game.
“It was a tough loss but we all pick each other up,” said Morgan, who has been playing football since he was 5 years old.
Losing during Homecoming does not really change Morgan’s philosophy to let the past behind and to regard every game as an opportunity to give his 100 percent.
Linebacker and senior Antonio Scala described the Homecoming game as an “awesome atmosphere.” He said the weather turned out, alongside a huge turnout for the tailgate. Scala said that as a player, he tries to focus more on the game rather than the fans, even though he said the game received a huge turnout as well.
“We try to make sure we do everything we can to win, so we try to keep our mind focused,” Scala said. “Having a home field advantage with the crowd on our side is a blessing.”
Like his teammate Jamarious Morgan, Scala has been playing football from a very young age and has been a Pioneer since his freshman year. He described the football game as being “electric,” as the game gave him energy, motivation and good vibes.
“We have a buddy system where we have to go to other games as a team, where we show respect to all of the other teams but I do think football is a fun sport to watch,” Scala said.
Scala explained that before the game, the team gets “pumped up” in the locker room, where they listen to different types of music. He noted that the locker room’s favorite is “Pop Smoke.”
“After the (Homecoming) game, we didn’t finish the way we wanted to so it was kind of upsetting, especially because we played well in the game too,” Scala said. “Something that we always say is ‘short-term memory’ so it happened and there’s nothing you can do to change it and the next thing you can do is learn from it and get ready for the next game and do your best.”
Scala said the team always thinks about the results of the game but focusing on it does not help anybody, but learning from it, is the trick.
Scala said that offense played great but defensively they could have done better.
“We’re three and three and there’s still a lot of football to be played and we could still have one of the best seasons here at Utica College,
Students, faculty, staff, alumni, families and friends attended the Homecoming football game to show support to the Pioneers.
Associate Director of Admissions and UC alum Joanne Pluff was there cheering for UC’s team. She said that it was great to see a good turnout at the football game, along with the weather holding out.
“Homecoming is always the same, it’s always the same excitement, it’s awesome to see this many people come back, people you don’t see everyday, so I love it, it’s my favorite day on campus,” Pluff said. “I love the football tailgate. Everybody is always there and they may not make it to the game but you get to see so many alums from years past.”
Sophomore and Occupational Therapy major Brianna Guenter, was also at the game.
Guetner said she was excited to be at the game because she is on the Volleyball team, so going to other sporting events is rare, due to the team’s schedule.
“Watching football comes from high-school,” Guetner said. “It brings back the school spirit and it’s so exciting to watch everyone.”
Nick Metzger attended the game, and said he was friends with a lot of the members of the football team, such as football player Antonio Scala.
“I’m a big UC fan, I’ve been following the team for a few years,” Metzger said.
He attended high-school with some of the members of the football team, so for him, “it’s kind of a big deal.”
Metzger said his favorite activity was the tailgate, where everyone was having fun and having a good time.