JOHNSON CITY (WJHL) – A bonfire lit up the night sky Wednesday night as the marching band, cheerleaders, students, and of course the football players, gathered to rally each other ahead of Thursday night’s game.
East Tennessee State University Offensive Tackle Matt Brewer said, “I am just excited for how long and how hard we’ve waited for this.”
After years of work and waiting, the night before East Tennessee State University’s football returns after a 12-year hiatus.
“I am so glad the football program is back,” said ETSU football fan John Taylor. “It has been missed and it be welcomed back greatly.”
Wednesday, there was no talk of logistics, or fundraising, the main topics since the 2013 announcement that football would return.
“It’s amazing how everyone is coming together for this,” said Jessica Leach, a freshman at ETSU.
The night was pure celebration of the return of something many here think never should have gone away.
“I am really happy I am able to be here for the excitement of the new program. It’s really cool to be a part of something this big,” said Blair Patterson, a member of the ETSU dance team.
“It’s great to come out here and know we do have a good fan base, and that a lot of other people are excited,” said Brewer.
Football ended at ETSU because of a lack of community support, and an unwillingness of administration to keep funding a money loser. It’s something Coach Carl Torbush in so many words said should never happen again.
“Win, lose or draw, we’re all going to be family,” he said. “I want you to pull together, get behind each other. This is a process.”
A process that takes a big step forward Thursday night.
After a break in the celebrations, the party resumes Thursday at 3:30 P.M. when tailgating begins outside Kermit Tipton Stadium.
Kick-off vs. Kennesaw State is at 7:30 P.M.
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