Word spread quickly Saturday that Northeastern State was having a football scrimmage at Doc Wadley Stadium. It was slated to be a test run for all the Greek students, trying out their tailgating settings and finding out what improvements need to be made before NSU kicks off its football season in a matter of weeks.
After the grills were extinguished, NSU students made their way inside the stadium to witness the happenings on Gable Field. And so did other communities members.
“The Greek groups from campus made a point that they wanted to be supportive,” NSU head coach Kenny Evans said. “I was excited about them being there.”
It certainly wasn’t an Alabama or Tennessee-type setting, where thousands upon thousands fill the stands. But there was roughly 500 people in attendance, much more than in recent memory.
“They were practicing, too,” Evans said of the Greek students tailgating. “And it was great to see others come out, too. Hopefully they realize there are more good things to come.”
Cornerback Vernon Jones provided the first highlight of the night, stepping in front of wide receiver Tank Richmond and taking Thor Long’s pass 65 yards for a touchdown.
Running back Joel Rockmore followed that up with a 35-yard touchdown run, despite having his playing time curtailed. Evans said that was the goal to try and get other ball carriers more time on the field.
Also limited during the intrasquad event was left tackle Ethan James and safety Victor Johnson. James twisted a ankle and watched from a trainer’s table. Johnson also was nursing a nagging injury, but his was a bit more peculiar.
“All summer he had been working out without his knee brace,” Evans said. “He put it on for practice and it caused a bruise. With a bruised lower leg, he felt limited and we felt he didn’t need to scrimmage as much as the young guys."
Taking Johnson’s place was Darrain Winston and Marquintin Grant.