Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Root for the home team

West Texas A&M University’s campus was flooded with maroon tents and the smell of burgers on a grill wafted through the streets. The big day had finally arrived. The Buffs were back in town.

The WT Buffaloes had just suffered a 6-28 defeat on the road at the hands of Western Colorado University, but the fans seemed optimistic now that their team was home. Nayeli Soto, Vice President of the WT Athletics Supporters, believed that the game would have gone differently if her organization had been there. WT Athletics Supporters, otherwise known as the “Maroon Platoon,” are a collection of student fans who show up at games to make noise and cheer for WT’s athletes.

#6 Shakell Brown runs in after receiving a touchdown pass from #16 Kanon Gibson during a game against the Adams State Grizzlies in September. Brown’s teammates celebrate in the background while the opposing team looks on. (Michael Kidd)

“I think the first game was a loss because, honestly, this could be a little pride, but it’s because we weren’t there,” Soto said.

The WT Buffaloes’ first two home games of the season have aligned with Soto’s theory. Both games were victories: the Buffs defeated the Adams State Grizzlies and Midwestern State Mustangs when the teams came to visit Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium.

Families of the players were also there and celebrating. Dru Smith tailgated with other family members of WT football players as he waited for his little brother Gage Smith to play. Gage Smith is a defensive back for the football team who wears jersey #22; he’s also an education major at WT.

“He wants to be a coach as well, just like his big bro,” Dru Smith said.

Dru Smith was confident in the Buffs’ success on the football field. He was also optimistic about his chances of seeing his younger brother make a big play.

“I think it’s gonna be a great night for the Buffs,” Dru Smith said. “I see them winning by a couple touchdowns. Maybe an interception by #22. That’d make a great night.”

Gage Smith has not caught an interception yet, but he did snatch up a fumbled ball that had been dropped by Midwestern State’s punt returner. The play put the Buffs in a position to score.

The Buffs head to Midland, Texas, on Sept. 23 to play the University of Texas Permian Basin Falcons. Many fans will have to wait for the Buffs to return home to attend another game, but for the dedicated WT sports fans, that isn’t going to be a problem.

“We’re really just there to support and love on them,” Soto said, “And even support the other team; if they get hurt, or one of their players needs something.”

The Buffs are currently 2-1 with a 1-0 record in the Lone Star Conference. Their next home game is Sept. 30 versus the Western Oregon Wolves. The Buffs are coming off of a 5-6 season and have a new coach. The new regime seems to have impacted fan morale.

“The game seemed a lot more hype,” Soto said. “I can’t really put words to it, but I can tell that I had a lot more fun at that game than I had ever had at any other game.”

Football games are on Saturdays and start at 7 p.m.

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Michael Kidd, Multimedia Reporter

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