A big season for Sewanee Football

Players during one of the season's games

by Annie Blanks

Contributing Writer

Photo by Kimberly Williams

Sewanee football capped off its 120th season last Saturday, November 15 with a 34-11 loss to Hendrix on Hardee-McGee Field. This year’s overall record was 2-8, with big wins against Berry and longtime rival Washington and Lee. “We faced a lot of adversity [in the Berry game] and had to come together to pull out the win,” said quarterback Matt Rosson (C’18). The most memorable game of the season for senior wide receiver Charlie Powell was the Washington and Lee game. “When the scoreboard read zero seconds at the end of the W&L game, the field filled with players and fans as the commentator announced our victory,” he said. There were high turnouts at home games this year, with an average of 3,228 fans packing Harris Stadium on any given Saturday. That, according to Powell, was one of the best parts of playing Tiger football. “There’s nothing like making a big play and looking up to the stands and seeing the crowd roar,” he said. The high turnouts may have been bolstered by the amount of positive press Tiger football received this season. Reporter Mark Wiedmer visited Sewanee on Family Weekend and wrote an article for the Chattanooga Times Free Press titled “Sewanee football is always right,” in which he praised the program for remaining true to the core values of football.

Then, in November, reporter Adam Doster wrote an article for Deadspin, a national online sports publication, in which he dubbed Sewanee “the Future of College Football” for its no-scholarship policy. “At the University of the South,” Doster wrote, “young men still play football for the love of the game even as that game, in some fundamental ways, refuses to love them back.” Athletic Director Mark Webb was pleased with Sewanee being in the spotlight this season. “I think the positive press validates the broad interest that exists for Sewanee football,” he said. “Division III competition at the University of the South and similar institutions is a desirable and appealing model in intercollegiate athletics.”

Despite the praise, head coach Tommy Laurendine, who has been with the Tigers for four years, is still focused on one goal. “I had several head coaches in our conference tell me that our team ‘plays hard’ and with ‘great enthusiasm’,” he said. “These are nice compliments, but at the end of the day we need to win more games.”

Looking forward to the 121st season and beyond, the Tigers will build on the momentum accumulated during this past season. Laurendine is wasting no time preparing for next year. “We need to attack the off-season with the same enthusiasm [as we had during this season’s games] if we want to compete for a conference championship.”