Big Green football: It’s good to be back home again

  • David Chalmers is congratulated by his sister Anna and mom Maryanne following Dartmouth's win over Brown in Hanover, N.H.,on Saturday, Nov.17,2018.(Valley News - Rick Russell) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News file photograph — Rick Russell

  • Members of the Newport youth football team Cam Ranney, 9, left, of Newport, N.H., Josh Seymour, 10, of Newport, and Cameryn Simpson, 13, of Unity, N.H. stand for the National Anthem before the start of the Dartmouth football game in Hanover, N.H., on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. The team was there to welcome the Dartmouth players onto the field. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news file photograph — Jennifer Hauck

  • Dartmouth College receiver Drew Estrada stands on the front edge of Memorial Field's West Stands to celebrate with a group of former teammates Saturday. The No. 20 Big Green beat arch-rival Harvard, 24-17, and has a showdown at Princeton this week for the Ivy League lead.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/24/2021 9:46:21 PM
Modified: 9/24/2021 9:46:28 PM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College fifth-year linebacker and team captain Tanner Cross said it’s just another game. But he knows it’s significant.

Dartmouth football (1-0) hosts Sacred Heart (2-1) in the Big Green’s first home game since 2019 Saturday at Memorial Field. The game kicks off at 1:30 p.m.

After missing out on a 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cross is excited to play in front of the home fans again. He said the energy has been normal and that it’s a normal game in a different location than the Big Green played last week. But he added that this game will be meaningful for the upperclassmen and for the 12 fifth-years and graduate students who came back for an extra season.

Cross pictured a euphoric moment when Dartmouth runs out on the field before the game.

“We’ve worked so hard through this over the past two years, when we were all together and when we were all separated in our different hometowns,” Cross said. “So just feeling that wave of emotion run over us, that we have all these people here supporting us and wanting to see us win and wanting to see us fight, I think it’s gonna be amazing.”

Senior offensive tackle John Paul Flores said the preparation for a home game is a little different than that for a road game.

Doing the team walk-through on the home field is a lot different than doing it elsewhere for away games. And he said hearing their own pregame playlist can make a difference. Flores is looking forward to hearing Split by Tiësto when the Big Green warms up together.

This will be the first home game for Dartmouth’s underclassmen. Sophomore wide receiver Paxton Scott has waited two years for this game. He’s expecting a good atmosphere.

“I’ve only heard about the energy and excitement from the fans,” Scott said. “The older guys have been talking to us, giving us advice, telling us how it feels and trying to not let the moment be bigger than us and to keep a level head. But that playing at home is something special.”

The enthusiasm for the first home game expands beyond the team itself. There’s been a palpable buzz on campus all week. Students have approached players during classes and around town, asking how they’re feeling about the game and expressing excitement for Saturday.

Most of Dartmouth’s ticket sales are sold on game day at the box office, so the ticket office can’t fully predict how big a crowd the Big Green will have Saturday.

Assistant manager of ticket operations Logan White said, as of Friday morning, they’d sold around 1,500 tickets (Memorial Field can hold up to 11,000 people). That figure is in line with Dartmouth’s 2019 home opener against Colgate, when — including walk-up sales — 4,500 people watched the Big Green’s 38-3 win.

White said the ticket office is cautiously optimistic about season ticket sales. He said they’re mostly on track with where they were in 2019, though he knows some people are hesitant about renewing season tickets.

He added that Dartmouth has promoted digital ticket sales for the last several years, but they’ve increased that push this year.

“We’ve approached the season completely differently than what we have in the past,” White said. “Eliminating contact points, spacing people out, things of that nature. We’re really taking a close look at how we can operate safely but also effectively. And digital is definitely one of the ways that we’re encouraging people buy (tickets) so that there’s not lines at the game.”

The players are particularly looking forward to having their peers in the stands. The team has gone to other Dartmouth athletic events this season to support other Big Green teams, and they’re excited for that to be reciprocated at Memorial Field.

“I know everyone’s just stoked to get out there and play in front of (our) fans,” Flores said. “We’ve gone to some sporting events as well as a football team, and you know a girl or a guy who’s playing on the team. The opportunity to cheer on people that are in your class, your friends or somebody you know, I think, is one of the special parts of a small college like Dartmouth.”

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.




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