Fighting Scots of all ages were excited last Saturday as the Monmouth football team once again took the field for the first time since the fall of 2019. With a “Red-Out” theme, fans came pouring into the stadium, celebrating before and after with tailgating events, covering the Scots’ stadium in a sea of red. Players felt the love as they followed the sound of bagpipes “leading them home” to the field, leading both freshmen and sophomores to their first Scots’ home game as well as welcoming juniors and seniors back onto the field after the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID-19 health concerns. Cheering could be heard throughout the town as the Scots fought for their first victory of the season. The game concluded with a score of 42-7 with the Scots’ securing their first conference victory of the season.
Starting the first quarter off strong, the Scots took a 14-0 lead, with Carter Boyer leading a 68-yard catch to running back Henderson Francois who scored the first touchdown of the game. Following the first touchdown of the game, the Scots scored again with Carter Boyer throwing another pass to wide receiver Jake Urasz who ran forty nine yards untouched to score the Scots’ second touchdown of the game and secure a strong lead in the game.
In the second quarter, Grinnell fought back, scoring their first touchdown of the game. However, the Scots, not to be outdone, had Francois once again dash thirty yards to the endzone for his second score of the day, bringing the score to 20-7. For the final drive of the first half, Riley Fetterer took over as quarterback for Boyer, who appeared injured. After picking up twenty yards and losing his helmet, Fetterer was replaced by freshman Conor McCormick who gained eighteen yards in the first play of his college career. Although a pass to the end zone at the end of the quarter fell incomplete, the Scots maintained their thirteen point lead going into halftime.
The halftime show featured the Fighting Scots Marching Band, an ensemble of twenty-eight Monmouth students under the direction of Elissa Kana, a doctoral student at the University of Iowa. The marching band began their performance schedule this year by marching in the Monmouth Prime Beef Festival this past week and will continue to be a part of the Scots’ home football game experience for the remainder of the semester.
Also making their first appearance of the 2021 season was the Monmouth College Cheer Team. Featuring a variety of students across campus, the team led the Scots’ student section in cheers and brought an all-around positive attitude to the home side of the stadium.
The second half of the game started off slow with neither the Scots nor the Pioneers scoring until Uraysz maneuvered his way through, around, and over the opposing team on his way to the end zone to score a twenty-three yard touchdown, which accounted for his first passing score in his Scots career. Later in the third quarter, Fetterer threw another twenty-six yard touchdown pass to Francois in the end zone, upping the Scots lead to 33-7 going into the final quarter.
Fetterer grabbed a third score of the day with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, running seventy-five yards untouched up the middle of the field to the end zone, bringing the Scots to a 40-7 lead. The Scots then ended the game on a defensive score with a special teams safety. Grinnell made a snap pass over the punter’s head to bat the ball through to the end zone and bring the score to 42-7 with fifty-seven seconds left in the game, securing the Scots’ first win of the season.
When asked for a statement, Head Coach Chad Braun said, “Our players were definitely excited and ready to play on Saturday. The home crowd and game Saturday atmosphere was incredible. It was great to hear the bagpipes going again. It was a beautiful day for football. Our team has to keep getting better. We are very inexperienced but really talented. We haven’t been close to playing a complete game at this point. We are happy to get a win but have a lot to work on if we are going to get where we want to be at the end of the year.”
The Scots head south to Illinois College to face off against the Blueboys next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. but will return to their home field October 9 to play against the University of Chicago.
Brooke McCormick – Sports Editor