Seniors make last stand at the Battle for the Real HU
With the reputations of two of America’s leading HBCU’s at stake, the line in the sand was drawn and the sides were chosen. Hampton University was on one side and Howard University was on the other, leaving no room for the impartial fan.
The Battle for the Real HU has historically coaxed even the most introverted students out of their dorm rooms. This past Saturday did not disappoint. This year, the Pirates and the Bison met for the 85th time.
Just as any other year, this year marked the last time seniors would be a part of this game. While players feel their last game, seniors in the stands had their own emotions.
“It’s kind of nostalgic when I think about all the time we spent at HU-HU games,” said Wayne Lawson, a senior marketing major at Hampton University, “It’s usually one of the first games of the year and people see each other who haven’t seen each other all summer.”
For some, this last game represented what they might have been taking for granted. Keren Davis, a senior English major from New York City, said she feels some regret for not taking part in the rivalry every year.
“I’m kind of sad,” she said. “I wish I had gone to more.”
Despite the bittersweet feelings that accompanied the game, for Hampton seniors, the Pirate’s 11 year tradition of overrunning Howard for the coveted title made the game that much better, and winning senior year that much more important.
“I definitely talk trash,” said Davis laughing, “We win so often it just makes it that much better. I go into every game with the confidence that we will win.”
This year, Howard threatened to make Hampton students eat their words by dominating the game with a 7-0 shutout for the first two quarters. In the second half, the Pirates’ prospects looked bleak until a blown fuse in the lights overhead lead to a recharged offense.
The Pirates scored 38 second half points including two explosive kick off returns for touchdowns by senior Kevin Teel. Hampton was able to pull out a 38-27 victory.
The half time deficit had students nervous about the outcome.
“It was frustrating at the beginning because I thought we were going to lose. I mean it’s my last HU-HU game,” said Erica Blunt, a senior sports management major from New York.
While undergraduates enjoy the experience as students, they do not forget after graduation. Many plan to attend as alumni.
“It’s my last game as a student, but I plan to come back as an alumna,” said Blunt. “It’s definitely not my last game at Hampton.”
Ashlie Gibbs, a 2008 Hampton graduate and native of Chesapeake, Virginia, seemed to put the event prospective.
“It’s the biggest game of the year. It’s not just about the battle between the football teams,” she said. “It’s about the battle between the pep squads and the band and everything. It’s about the entire school.”
-By Michele Byrd