Excitement builds for homecoming game, tailgate

Adrian Seales, criminal justice junior, dodges tackles made by three Texas A&M — Commerce players, Oct. 7, 2017. Photo by Marissa Daley

For head football coach Bill Maskill, this week’s game is more than just a chance for the team to win. With a team ranked No. 5 in the American Football Coaches’ Association Top 25 and with an overall 42.2 game point average for the season, he needs to encourage the players while keeping them focused.

“Homecoming is just an added deal to the game,” Maskill said. “What we’ve got to do is improve upon where we were last week and get better this week. Our absolute goal is just to win the game but to win the game we’ve got to get better.”

Maskill said he hopes to remind the players and keep them focused on preparing.

“Preparation is a never ending process,” Maskill said. “[It’s important to] focus on adjustments, whether it’s during the game, after the game or before the game.”

He said he believes you should always focus on adjustments, whether it is during the game, after the game or before the game.

With previous players planning on attending the game, Maskill said he wants the team to make the football alumni proud.

“One day that is going to be them,” Maskill said.

With all of the activities going on this week, Maskill said he hopes to see the team focus more on the game while still enjoying homecoming.

In preparation for this week’s game, the team will be wearing pink socks in honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Maskill said he feels tailgates energize the audience’s environment before each game.

“When our players come up to the stadium and there are tents, music, people playing frisbee and playing ball — it’s just an aura that excites them,” Maskill said.

Among some of the game attendees and tailgaters are members of the Greek community. Kappa Sigma fraternity members will be grilling out, playing corn hole and having their traditional football toss game set up just for homecoming. The tailgate will also be enjoyed by many alumni.

“The tailgates this year have been small,” John Oleon, Kappa Sigma social chairman, said.

He also said he hopes to see a bigger turnout and more participation on Saturday than any other tailgate so far.

“The past homecoming tailgates have gone down since I was a freshman,” Oleon said. “More rules have been set in stone, so to improve we just have to adjust to the rules and try to make the best of it.”

Kappa Sigma will be teaming up with members of Gamma Phi Beta sorority and have been working together for the past two weeks to spread homecoming spirit.

Noah Mclarty, Kappa Sigma assistant social chair, said, “It’s something that freshman can jump in and become part of the fraternity in a way. It is a great way to have fun, meet a lot of people and be as safe as possible.”

Oleon said he encourages students to go to the tailgate who are still debating on attending.

“It’s a good place to meet people that have gone to school here in the past, have fun, visit different groups and organizations and bring families,” Oleon said.

At the beginning of every tailgate, the team has what they call the “Mustang Walk” and the players walk from the press box to the locker room with fans lining the sidewalk and cheering on the team.

“We want all those tailgaters to come up and form a tunnel and have a tunnel back to our locker room,” Maskill said.

The Mustang Walk will begin at 5:50 p.m. in the Memorial Stadium parking lot before the homecoming game, which begins at 8 p.m.