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Nicholls football game still the main event of homecoming week

November 7, 2017

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Nicholls football game still the main event of homecoming week

Photo by: Jeffery Miller

Photo by: Jeffery Miller

Photo by: Jeffery Miller

The arrival of homecoming week creates a buzz around the campus of Nicholls State University due to student activities, community events and through preparation for the traditional homecoming football game.

While homecoming events around campus take place throughout the week to encourage student involvement, the football game itself contains activities that make it stand out from other games hosted at John L. Guidry Stadium throughout the rest of the regular season.

Rhonda Zeringue, Nicholls athletics events coordinator said while her job requires her to wear many hats, her main role is communicating what happens at committee meetings to ensure activities run smoothly before, during and after football games– especially for the homecoming game.

“As far as events, I help out with all the football games,” Zeringue said. “I am on the homecoming committee and I go to meetings for that. My role is coordinating with cheer, dance and the mascot, but I do bring back [information] to Barker Hall about the things they may need to know.”

Although the duration of halftime stays the same due to game regulations, there is still time for the homecoming court to take place. While the court is set up by a combination of alumni, the Student Programming Association and the Student Government Association, Zeringue said she also plays a part in coordinating the event.

Despite the inclusion of homecoming activities that occur alongside the football game, the structure and focus of the game itself do not stray from any other football game, according to head coach Tim Rebowe.

“We just focus on who we’re playing, there’s really not much difference for the team,” Rebowe said. “We like getting them to get involved in some of the festivities throughout the week but as far as the routine for us, it stays the same.”

Rebowe said although there may be distractions during homecoming week, they don’t pose a threat to the team because their focus is always on their weekly opponent.

“We try not to look too far ahead and we try not to look too far behind us,” Rebowe said. “If you train that way, one week at a time, even with some distractions like during homecoming week, we still stay locked in pretty good.”

For senior quarterback Tuskani Figaro, the buildup of activities leading up to the game and the increased fan support are what make homecoming a true community event.

“The community and student body definitely come out and make it a really huge game. From my experience, even from outside of Thibodaux, it’s really big,” Figaro said. “They support us by coming to the game and the tailgating is really big. It’s a great experience that whole week with all the activities that go on that build up to the game. You can tell everyone’s excited for homecoming and it’s just a great atmosphere.”

When game time finally rolls around, the commotion of weekly activities and pre-game tailgating translates into energy in the stands in the form of fan support. For fifth-year senior and Thibodaux native Stephen Lebouef, this is where he finds his purpose and drive to play his best in the homecoming game each year.

“It’s nice to see people you know in the stands and it gives you more to play for,” Lebouef said. “Noise is just noise when you’re in the crowd, but when you’re looking into the stands and you see someone, especially being from Thibodaux, if it’s someone I’ve known since I was little or if it’s a classmate or a high school friend, all of those make me feel like I have a bigger sense of playing for something.”

After kicking off the start of their season with a huge win over Southland Conference rival McNeese State University, senior wide receiver Jarrell Rogers thinks the team’s success will attract an even larger fan-base when the Colonels face the Northwestern State University Demons for homecoming.

“I think the way we are playing right now is going to bring even more fans in the Thibodaux community out to the game,” Rogers said. “I like where we’re at right now. Thibodaux is on the rise, Nicholls is on the rise and coach Rebowe is doing a good job with the program; we’re in a good place.”

Ultimately, the team’s goal is to produce a game-winning result. Rebowe said being able to win during homecoming is the aspect of the game that makes it more enjoyable to coach, to play and to spectate as an alumni.

“I like to tell the guys if it weren’t for the football game there really wouldn’t be a homecoming. After the game if you win, you get a little extra celebration,” Rebowe said. “I enjoy all of the alumni coming back and some of the guys get to come back and kind of re-live some of the memories that they have with their families. We want to put a good product on the field for all of them to make it more enjoyable.”

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