Despite no official homecoming game this year, Varsity Football (VFB) and Girls’ and Boys’ Cross Country (GVXC and BVXC) hosted big crowds at the home field and Fresh Pond on October 14 for the first annual Saturday Night Lights, a modification of the Friday Knight Lights event the school has run since 2015.
VFB played Tabor Academy at 6 p.m. on the turf, beating the team 42–12. GVXC raced at 2 p.m., beating Lawrence Academy and losing to Thayer, and BVXC won their race against Lawrence a half an hour later.
To encourage attendance among students, parents, and alumni/ae, the Athletics Department advertised Saturday Night Lights via email and social media. The school also arranged for food trucks to cater the football game, and the Cross Country team’s parents held a reception with food, dessert, and sports drinks at Fresh Pond after the race.
Head Coach Mike Willey said the football team’s hard work in practice during the week leading up to the game and the high student turnout at the event contributed to the team’s strong performance.
“Our fans really helped,” Coach Willey said. “In times of so much turmoil in our nation, it gave everyone a little bit of a break. That night, our community could just be together.”
Coach Willey cited the two touchdowns from Devin Marrocco ’18 and Ryan Eamer ’19 as the highlights of the game, and VFB Co-Captain Desi O’Mahony ’18 said his favorite part was when the fans stormed the field at the end.
“We were excited to play for a crowd,” he said. “When the clock ran out, it was great to celebrate our win with the community.”
Jenny Steinberg ’18 said that despite wishing the school had organized a regular homecoming game, she still had fun.
“I really enjoyed Saturday Night Lights,” she said. “The atmosphere was so lively, and there were lots of students cheering and holding signs—it was a great replacement for homecoming.”
For Cross Country, the mid-October race at Fresh Pond was the last home meet of the season, so the race served as the team’s homecoming meet, Cross Country Head Coach Charlie O’Rourke said.
The race was the closest GVXC had ever come in team history to beating rival Thayer Academy, with the girls losing by only two points, GVXC Co-Captain Isabella Kennedy ’18 said.
Isabella broke her own school record for the course with a time of 18 minutes and 3
5 seconds. BVXC Co-Captain Ben Morris ’18 placed first in his race.
Coach O’Rourke said he was pleased with both teams’ performances.
“I thought it was awesome that the seniors had a great homecoming,” he said. “They finished their last home meet with a terrific race.”
Boys’ Junior Varsity runner Graham Huntington ’20 echoed Coach O’Rourke’s sentiments.
“Toward the end of the race, the cheers of support from the whole community helped push me to the very end,” Graham said. “[They] were just the motivation I needed to finish.”
The remaining four varsity fall sports teams played away games at Milton Academy during Saturday Night Lights. Field hockey lost 0–3, volleyball lost 0–3, boys’ soccer lost 0–1, and girls’ soccer, who went on to win the ISL title this month won 2–0.