The changing of the leaves, temperatures dropping below 70 degrees and early sunsets can only mean one thing; football season is upon us. Every fall, hundreds of excited fans pack into Greene Stadium to watch the Howard Bison Football Team play. The players are usually exclusively seen on the field, only identifiable by a number displayed on the back of their jersey. Still, the team wanted to give student spectators an opportunity to see the team up-close and personal.
Prior to their match against Sacred Heart, the football team debuted a new tradition for the first time ever; the Bison Walk. The Bison Walk is a new pre-game tradition, in which the players walk along The Yard, the grassy area that serves as the heart of the University campus. Instead of their usual cleats and helmets, the players were decked out in dazzling suits and dress shoes. Led by the HU Ooh La La! dance line and the Showtime marching band, football players and staff could be seen passing Founders Library and walking across the Yard in style. Alongside many players were proud family members and friends, who got a front row seat to the iconic walk.
In an inspiring and lively display, the regiment found themselves on Georgia Avenue, right in front of the campus bookstore. Despite it being 11a.m., the energy was high-spirited. The band played thunderously down the street, sending the beat of drums and the buzzing of the trumpets through the neighborhood. In front of them, adorned in sparkling outfits, the dance line moved to the music, and uplifted members of the crowd.
The idea for the Bison Walk came from the imagination of Head Coach Larry Scott. Coach Scott was appointed in February 2020, after stepping down from the position of tight-end coach for the University of Florida.
Quinton Williams, a junior criminology major and quarterback for the team, says he feels that Coach Scott’s idea certainly shifted the energy for the upcoming game.
“When us as players are in a positive uplifting environment, we are bound to have a positive outcome,” Williams said. “I think it’s important for us to see the people who support us whether it’s friends, family or the student body, especially on game day. That sets the tone for the game.”
Seemingly, the Bison Walk did in fact inspire the players to give it all they had. At the start of the fourth quarter, the Bison were down 8 points. Thankfully, they were able to bring it home and gained 13 points in the last quarter, securing their victory. The final score against the Sacred Heart Pioneers was 17-22, making this the team’s first win of the season. In addition to strong coaching, rigorous practices, dedication, and teamwork, some players partially attribute the win to the newfound tradition.
Deion Harry Jr., a junior human performance major and defensive end for the team, says that the Bison Walk is to be somewhat credited for the win.
“There was definitely a huge correlation between the Bison Walk and the victory,” Harry said. “It brings a different pride for us and gives us that motivation from seeing the fans welcome us to play that much harder.”
Regardless if the new tradition was the key to yesterday’s success or not, the Bison Walk brought a great energy to the student body and the team. The football team will make an appearance at home this Friday, Oct. 8, at the second ever Friday night lights game against the Morgan State Bears.
Copy Edited by Jasper Smith