By Brittany Bauer
Once again, the Furman Paladins have given one of their strongest opponents of the year a run for their money. Last Saturday, Sept. 15, the football team traveled to Clemson to battle the Tigers on their own turf.
Plenty of Furman students also made their way out to Frank Howard Field at Memorial Stadium, popularly known as Death Valley, to see the game and cheer on their team.
“It was nice to see so many students come out to support their friends,” said sophomore Lauren Sansalone.
Unfortunately, the Paladins didn’t walk away with the winning score. The Tigers triumphed 41-7, although it’s undoubtedly true that Furman kept them at odds for much of the first half in the game.
“Clemson had a really good football team and were explosive with their offensive. Our game plan was to keep the ball moving, which we did. Our team played hard and put in a great effort,” said Bruce Fowler, head coach of the football team.
While many spectators show up right before a football game begins, not many people realize just how much work goes into scheduling the details of game days.
Jordan Sorrells, the Director of Football Operations at Furman University, is in charge of planning all the games and doing behind-the-scenes work.
Although he says the Clemson game was a bit easier to plan because it was so close and they didn’t have to book hotels or flights, Sorrells still planned the event multiple weeks in advance. This includes everything from the number of buses to police escorts to the way meals are served.
He emphasized how crucial it is to count on other people to do their part. By working together, they create their own team as they all put in a group effort to keep everything running smoothly.
While there are 94 players on the football team this year, only 65 players made the trip to Clemson, and along with the coaches and other staff, the total number traveling added up to 115 people.
They left for Clemson at 11:30 a.m. to have plenty of time to set up and warm up before the game started. Some of the crew even arrived early Friday morning to get the locker rooms ready for the team.
“It’s important to keep players insulated from stress and make things as easy as possible for them, so that they can focus on the game,” Sorrells said.
Each year, the athletic coordinators schedule one major football game for the Paladins. Last year it was against the University of Florida, where the team flew to Gainesville for the weekend to battle the Gators.
Although Clemson is much closer to Greenville, the Tigers were then ranked the eleventh in the AP Poll.
This year, Furman has high hopes for its football team, which practices hard every day in order to make it a great season. Full practices run five days a week for at least two and a half hours, and players have their own study hall in order to endure academic success as well.
The football staff is also excited to send their new freshman recruitments onto the field this year. Some impressive additions include Reggie Thomas and Reese Hannon.
“We’re preparing the best that we can and will take the games one at a time,” said Fowler.