BELLEVILLE — Lindenwood University-Belleville celebrated its inaugural homecoming week, which culminated in a football game and crowning of king and queen Saturday.
The Lindenwood Lynx fell 27-0 to Valley City State University Vikings in front of a few hundred fans who tailgated and cheered on the team.
"I think it's awesome," said Sheree Morrison, of Mount Vernon. She had a tent filled with food and friends tailgating before the start of the game. She is the mother of Daniel Morrison, #77, a freshman offensive lineman at Lindenwood.
Before Saturday's game, the new team had a record of 4-4.
"It's just a testament to the kids and the coaches," said Sheree Morrison. She noted that the 95-man roster had about 75 freshmen on it. "They've done well."
Sheree Morrison has tailgated, cooking yummy treats like chicken and dumplings, fish, fried potatoes, burgers, wings and more, before every home game this season. As the weeks rolled by, more families of players and Lynx fans joined in the party. The families of eight players were celebrating together before Saturday's games.
When fans entered the stadium Saturday, they walked by a rock band performing, a booth selling Lindenwood swag and were handed free maroon and black pompoms.
The cheerleaders lead the fans to chant "L-U" during the game.
At halftime, Lindenwood Belleville seniors Kaci Fewkes and Sampson Hillary were named the first-ever homecoming queen and king at the school.
In addition, two lucky Lindenwood students kicked their way toward the chance of a gas gift card during halftime. Also, the winners of win a date with a cheerleader drawing were announced.
The new team's .500 record before Saturday "surprised the heck out of me," said Rodney Blacharczyk, the uncle of Matt Blacharczyk, #32, a defensive end in his first year at Lindenwood.
"It's good for Belleville," said Rodney Blacharczyk, who was tailgating with parents, siblings and other family members of Matt Blacharczyk. They were sitting around a grill that had hot dogs, bratwurst and hamburgers for them to enjoy.
Lindenwood middle linebacker, #52 Adrian Williams had his own cheering section in the stands: his mother Jill Williams, father Guy Williams and girlfriend Richiah Poore, all of Centralia.
"I think it's great. It's an accomplishment," said Guy Williams, of the inaugural homecoming and the Lynx's success. "This is what he (Adrian Williams) always wanted to do, play football."
Contact reporter Maria Baran at email@example.com or 618-239-2460.