As the football sailed through the uprights on Saturday, cheers erupted across Farrington Field.
It was the fourth quarter of the Rams’ homecoming game against the Bacone College Warriors, and the Rams had just gotten on the scoreboard with a field goal. They now trailed the Warriors 33-3.
Junior music major Javy Careaga was relieved that the Rams had finally scored.
“It’s relieving, because I thought we were going to be zero again, but we’re actually advancing,” Careaga said. “I’m really happy to see that.”
Texas Wesleyan’s first homecoming game in 75 years ended with the Rams losing 33-18, but that did not tarnish the experience.
During half time, the homecoming court was announced, and President Frederick Slabach crowned sophomore theatre major John Traxler as homecoming king and junior biology major Ruqea Saheb, as homecoming queen.
Careaga still enjoyed going to the game in person, rather than watching football on television.
“I wouldn’t [say losing homecoming would ruin the experience] because I got to experience it first-hand no matter if we won or lost,” Careaga said. “It’s part of us, no matter what.”
Careaga’s favorite part of homecoming was getting to play in the Ram Band, which he never did in high school or middle school. Careaga, who grew up as an orchestra kid, had to learn the cymbals from scratch in order to play in band this year.
“I’m very glad [that I started playing cymbals], because it gives me the honor of playing for the college,” he said. “It hypes you up and you have a lot of fun playing no matter what.”
Another favorite part of homecoming for Careaga was the halftime show.
“Well, you get to see a different part of the game, where you can have fun,” he said. “Where people can actually calm down and have a good time apart from being all rallied up from the game.”
Alumna Karla Fry Hinkle also enjoyed the halftime show performance by the Gold Line Dancers, but her true favorite part was watching a certain player in the defensive line.
“I’m really excited about Wesleyan having a football team, and we have a boy [Dylan Briscoe, number 56] that plays on the team,” Hinkle said. “He’s become one of my adopted kids. I’ve known him since he was a little boy.”
Hinkle’s husband was Briscoe’s coach in peewee football and they’ve been keeping up with his games ever since.
“We’ve been to every [Texas Wesleyan football] game except Kansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma,” Hinkle said. “We’ve listened to those either on the radio or watched them on the computer. We’ll be at every single home game.”
Hinkle, who graduated with her master’s in education in 1988, hadn’t been back for a homecoming until now. As a big football fan, she’s excited for the transition of homecoming to football.
“It’s a tremendous story [football coming back to Wesleyan],” Hinkle said. “I think it’s a great thing for Wesleyan. I think it’s [football] a thing that ties the school together and promotes school spirit. This is Texas; we do football.”
Freshman exercise science major Kendyl Slaboda also was excited for Wesleyan having a football homecoming.
“I think it’s going to be a good tradition to start back up that every college needs, wants, and has,” Slaboda said. “I think it will be something that Wesleyan will look forward to having.”
Slaboda was excited for her first college homecoming game.
“In high school everyone expects a big mum,” Slaboda said. “Here I think it’s nice not be distracted by bells and whistles, and that the people are just coming here for football, tailgating, and sense of community. I’m enjoying it so far.”
Junior criminal justice major Cameron Bennett also appreciated the sense of community from the tailgate.
“My favorite thing so far is the people actually coming out to support the football team and support different organizations on campus,” Bennett said. “It’s a really refreshing feeling, that even though you know it’s hot outside and the sun’s beating down on everybody, people are here. I’m really appreciating the spirit given off from everybody right now.”
Senior forensic accounting major Anthony Harper II also agreed that the tailgates were a nice touch with the adjustment of homecoming switching to football.
“That’s [the tailgate] a really cool touch that they’ve added,” Harper said. “I wasn’t here on time to see today’s, but I know in the past it’s been really good way to bring not just alumni, but other Wesleyan fans out a bit earlier so they could check out what’s going on.”
Harper, who’s a both a big Rams fan and football fan, always maintains high expectations for the football team.
“In terms of the football team, I always have high expectations no matter how much they struggle,” Harper said. “I feel like a lot of the stuff that they struggle with can be changed easily, but it just depends on the player, so I have high expectations for them to click any day. As far as us losing, it’s not meeting my expectations and I honestly expected more people here at home. This is one of our lesser attendances, but other than that it’s [homecoming] been pretty cool.”
While Harper didn’t get the victory he and many others desired, he was glad to see some points on the board in the final.
“It was good to see them put on a fight,” Harper said. “At the same time, I have higher expectations, where it shouldn’t have even got to this point. It was good to see the team pull themselves together and try to make things happen. At the same time, when things like this usually happen it’s the second string of the other teams’ defense so it’s not like the real defense, but I’m glad to see they put some extra points on the board.”
Harper looks forward to the day the team gets more established.
“[My favorite part] I guess is just the environment,” Harper said. “It’s a different setting, it’s a different sport, and we’re having our struggles. We’re out in a different atmosphere and I think it’s really cool and will be even better, when the football team gets more established.”
Stevan Boal, the father of alumna Caitlin Boal, also agrees the team needs to improve, but says it could be worse.
“It’s their first year,” Boal said. “They need a little bit more passion and more people to play. For a first year it could be better, but it also could be worse. I’ll give them credit for what they’re doing.”
Boal, Harper, and Hinkle all agree that even with a loss, Wesleyan students should still have pride in the team.
“We’re going to be real patient with our team while they get it together,” Hinkle said. “Most teams have players that have played seasons together, so they’re creating something from scratch, brand new. We could not be prouder of each and every one of them, because it’s hard what they’re doing. We’re real proud of them and their coaches.”