As football returns home against Muskingum, players hope to build on positive fan atmosphere

“The connections between the players and fans is amazing, you see people from all around campus enjoying themselves and cheering us on,” said junior linebacker Deveon Jackson.

With the Baldwin Wallace football season past its halfway point, the Yellow Jackets have only played one game thus far within the familiar confines of George Finnie Stadium. But as the second half of the season kicks off at home against Muskingum on Saturday, they will hope to have the home crowd buzzing again.   

“The energy was something I’ve never experienced before,” junior quarterback Joey Marousek said following the team’s prior home game, a 35-31 win over Ohio Northern.   

The home opener on Sept. 24 was the first time many first-year and transfer students, players, cheerleaders and band members had the chance to experience BW’s home atmosphere, including Marousek, who transferred from Division I Akron.   

“When the crowd is into it and being loud, it really gives us more motivation to keep playing our best until the final whistle,” Marousek said.   

Marousek’s teammates also acknowledged the part the home crowd played in the team’s success, including junior linebacker Devontae Jackson.   

“The connections between the players and fans is amazing, you see people from all around campus enjoying themselves and cheering us on,” Jackson said. “I feel like the energy the fans bring is contagious to not only other fans but also to the players.”   

Students contribute to this positive energy in several different ways. 

Emily Shelton, junior student and football fan, said she loves that “everyone comes together” on game days and enjoys being part of a fanbase that “shows up and shows out” for the team.  

Cheer team captain Katie Colabianchi said she loves donning brown and gold and bringing team spirit to life every game.   

“I love being a part of game days, chanting, dancing, cheering and stunting on the sidelines,” Colabianchi said. “I love knowing that I am supporting our football team while also being a part of the action, too.”   

 Meredith McCord, a section leader in the marching band, said the energy displayed at home games is “uplifting” and she and the band enjoyed being able to be a part of the game day culture again.   

As the team looks forward to a second half of the season in which three of the Yellow Jacket’s five remaining games will take place at home, junior wide receiver Vinny Lomeo said what he would like to see from fans to continue their positive impact on the team.   

“I expect the BW fans to do what they always do, which is pack the stadium and get loud throughout the game,” Lomeo said. “The fans don’t realize how big of a difference they could make throughout the game for us.”   

Jackson said he thinks there’s room to improve the game day atmosphere.   

“I expect fans to have our backs no matter what,” Jackson said. “I wish they would be more interactive at our home games with posters or other creative things to enhance our game day experience even more.”  

Senior offensive lineman George Newcomb said that football games show the “positive environment and size of the BW community.” Newcomb said that everyone makes the energy at home games possible, from Director of Athletics Steve Thompson to coordinators of game day events and fans.   

Following this week’s Muskingum matchup on Oct. 15, the Jackets will play at home against Otterbein on Oct. 22 and Nov. 12.   

Editor’s note: Cheer team captain Katie Colabianchi, and marching band member Meredith McCord, who were interviewed for this article, also separately contributed an article to the Oct. 12 issue of The Exponent on a freelance basis.