The following is an inside look at what it is like to play football at Bishop Chatard on game day written by student SID Michael Mates:
On August 17th, my teammates and I did something that hadn’t been done in our school’s 55-year history. On that historic day, we ran out onto our field for the first home, Friday night football game. The day began like any other gameday Friday, with players attending classes, and celebrating Mass as a team at Christ the King church. During the homily, it started to downpour and we could hear the rain pounding on the roof outside. Suddenly, during the Communion Prayer, the rain abruptly stopped and there was a collective sigh of relief, almost as if our prayers had been answered.
After Mass, we enjoyed a team meal that is prepared weekly by the football moms. Final preparations for the game took place at the conclusion of the meal, with position and team meetings. When the time came for us to run out onto the field and begin warm-ups, we began to understand the momentous event that was about to take place. Our team entered the field in three different waves, beginning with the specialist, running backs and quarterbacks, then skill players, followed by The Hogs. The Hogs, the BCHS offensive and defensive linemen, are the heart and soul of our team. Their arrival onto the field brought an indescribable energy and signaled for the team to get locked in and ready to go. After all our players were on the field, we stretched and met with coaches, who led each individual position group in drills and final preparations for the game. On the last practice play in warm ups, we followed the ball carrier into the end zone and circled up. We then completed Trojan Jacks, my favorite part of warm-ups, which involves players yelling out the letters that spell our school mascot’s name- T-R-O-J-A-N-S. The atmosphere was more electric than any other game we’ve experienced. Our team headed back to the locker room for the final team meetings and prayer.
When it was gametime, our players walked hand in hand, two by two around the nature trail that circles the Chatard field and into the stadium. The rush of emotions and anticipation will be feelings I will never forget. As the cheerleaders lead us out onto the field with their flags, and banners, we felt unstoppable. On that historic night, ready to face our opponents, the Brebeuf Braves, we got the ball first. As a member of the kick return team, this meant that I was part of the very first play ever to take place on Bishop Chatard’s home field. The crowd was cheering with an amazing intensity, and the butterflies were churning in my stomach. The play resulted in a touchback, but I was still able to say that I played on the first play of Friday night football in the history of Chatard’s stadium.
While the first game was awesome, playing a regional playoff game at home was even better. Last week’s game against Tri-West Hendricks turned into a warm night of celebration, even though the temperature was below freezing. This week, the Bishop Chatard Trojans travel from the comfortable confines of their own football field on a three hour trek to Evansville, where we will face a disciplined and undefeated Evansville Memorial team for the semi-state title.