After more than seven decades, football returned to Texas Wesleyan on Saturday.
Held at Farrington Field, the Blue & Gold game drew an estimated 2,500 people, and head coach Joe Prud’homme was happy with what he saw.
“I thought it was a little sloppy but I thought all in all it went really well,” Prud’homme said.
The scrimmage consisted of two 30-minute halves. The offense wore gold and the defense wore blue; the kickers and quarterbacks wore white.
“[The crowd] was pretty good,” Prud’homme said. “You know we didn’t give them a whole lot of scoring to get too excited about. All in all, I thought it was a really good first time through. I saw a lot of good things. I saw a lot of effort. I saw a lot of people flying around, and it was fun to get out here.”
Prud’homme said the game was a great way to watch the players in a live setting and get a better understanding of the team as a whole.
“Some guys went up higher on the depth charts and we had some guys drop a little bit, and then we’ve got more guys coming so we won’t know anything really until August,” he said.
Twenty-eight incoming signees were announced at halftime; they will begin attending Wesleyan in the fall.
Quarterback Justin Arth said the team was excited and eager to begin the spring game.
“It felt great to run out of the tunnel for warmups and see people in the stands rooting for us,” said Arth, a freshman business management major. “And as the stands filled, it seemed like my confidence grew as each person walked in the stands before kickoff.”
Arth said he is looking forward to playing in the fall and was lucky that his mom, Michelle Arth, was able to fly in from Atlanta to see him play.
“I think the team as a whole did a great job with the intensity and competitiveness desired by the coaching staff while still taking care of each other and putting on a show the fans will want to come see in the fall,” Arth said.
Arth was on the offensive gold team that won the game 14-0. The defensive blue team would have only been able to score if they had intercepted the ball.
“I know as an offense we can always improve on consistently moving the ball and putting the ball in the end zone,” Arth said.
Freshman linebacker Mark James said that while the team gave a good performance, there is still work to be done.
“For the most part, I think it went pretty well,” said James, an education major. “I don’t think that was like a first game, since that was a scrimmage. But yeah, you could say it was like the first-game experience with the crowd and the people there.”
James said he is hopeful for the team’s future.
“I’m not too feeling bad about it, because there’s still the future,” he said. “We still got time to get better, and we just gone take that time to do what we need to do. We see our flaws and we just gone perfect it this summer.”
For the fans, the afternoon was an opportunity to see friends and relatives on the field. Freshman criminal justice major Tyler King said it was exciting to see some of her friends play.
“It was cool getting to watch them and see what they have been working on,” King said. “They’ve been working toward this for a long time.”
King said attending the spring game really added to her college experience, and that it was an interesting first look into what football means for Wesleyan.
“It was fun getting to hang out with everyone and getting to experience the college football experience,” King said.
Tarmela Jones, the aunt of freshman defensive linebacker athletic training major Andrew Walker, said she thought the team could use a little cleaning up, but they did pretty well and have a lot of potential.
“They didn’t look bad, they just need to be polished,” Jones said. “Of course, [it’s different] from what we normally used to seein’ in the bigger leagues, but they’re good. They just need some work and they’ll have a lot of supporters.”
But at least one spectator had no connection with Wesleyan, and hadn’t even planned on being in the stands.
Johnathan Bermudez was on his way to run in Trinity Park and saw that something was going on at Farrington Field. While he said he had never even heard of Texas Wesleyan, he ended up watching the entire scrimmage and enjoying his little detour.
“I enjoyed the game, it was a really nice day out,” Bermudez said. “It was a scrimmage so, you know, it wasn’t like a football game, but it was pretty fun, beautiful to watch. When the ball was thrown into wind, the quarterback was having a tough time, but I think overall, everyone was played pretty well, especially for a spring game.”
The Rams open the 2017 season at McPherson College in McPherson, Kan. on Sept. 2. The home opener is Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. against Millsaps College at Farrington Field.
Tickets for the 2017 season are on sale now. Season tickets are $45 general admission and $22.50 for children 12 and under and are for all five home games. Single game tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for children 12 and under. Parking is free. Tickets can be purchased at ramsports.net/tickets.
Additional reporting by content producer Matt Smith.