Column: GVSU opening day was one for the ages

Brendan McMahon

Editor’s note: Brendan McMahon, a member of the football team and Lanthorn sports staff writer, gives a player’s perspective of the football season opener win over Tiffin.

Grand Valley State professors had their work cut out for themselves Sept. 1 when the Lakers welcomed the Tiffin Dragons to Lubbers Stadium to open the 2016 football season.

Students’ focus was less on skimming over the redundant syllabi and more on the excitement of the game.

Laker players struggle with the same problem when a rare weeknight game occurs. Much of the time is spent visualizing concepts, schemes and situations as class slowly winds down for the day.

This game in particular generated a great deal of excitement and anticipation because it was the season opener—the first time the Lakers took to the field since the heartbreaking finish in the national semifinal in West Virginia to end last season. The Lakers needed no extra motivation to begin the 2016 season.

Shortly after morning classes ended, the team met to review and put in the last pieces of the game plan. From there, the Lakers departed for a team meal—a quiet time dedicated to forming the right mentality and focus, while gaining the proper nutrients to preform at a high level in just a few hours.

The headphones stayed in from then to the Laker walk. The players walked from the Fieldhouse down to the football center through thousands of faithful fans.

The Lakers arrived at the locker room with just under two hours until kickoff. The players then changed into their brand new, all-blue uniforms and went about their separate ways to execute whatever pregame rituals they prefer.

Everything from getting taped up in the training room to running around and getting loose on the field, the energy continued to grow in the building.

While warming up, players got their first real look and the brand new multimillion-dollar scoreboard. The massive board that took months to construct lit up the stadium and counted down the minutes until kickoff.

Finally, game time rolled around. The locker room doors opened and the Lakers walked down the paved ramp and arrive under the banner. The band began playing the fight song and the team took the field in front of 13,000 plus fans.

The Dragons received the ball to start the game and took it into Lakers territory before being shut down. That ended up being one of the longest drives for the Dragons all night.

The Lakers offense took that momentum the defense created and wasted no time. Sophomore quarterback Bart Williams connected with junior wide out Urston Smith for a 43-yard touchdown reception.

The crowd erupted and the fireworks began to light up the sky from behind the student sections. “Touchdown Lakers!” was announced over the PA even louder than the roar of the fans.

The Lakers continued to dominate on both sides of the ball the entire first half, taking a 21-0 lead into the break.

The Lakers reentered the field to begin the second half. The sun had completely set and the stadium lights shined down on the turf. A modest amount of people had taken off, but those who remained had much to cheer about.

Senior linebacker David Talley started the second half with and interception return for a touchdown to increase the lead to 28-0. The Lakers finished strong and won 45-7.

The Lakers ran to the band and sang the fight song to celebrate the win. Back into the locker room the team went and began blaring music. It was an opening night for the ages, and a promising start for the Laker football 2016 campaign.