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670 days later, football fans are back in the Yager Stadium stands

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 9:39 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Fans were back on Washburn’s campus to watch the Ichabod football team after waiting for two years.

It’s been more than two years since the tailgaters descended on Yager stadium. The fans were back Thursday night to get their minds right to cheer on the ‘Bods.

Washburn President Dr. Jerry Farley said, “This is something we’ve been waiting on all these days. This is fun. This is why we like to be on a university campus.”

Fans of all ages cheered on their team for the first in-person game in more than 670 days.

Farley said he was in his office listening to the drumline practice hours before the game.

“Everybody is ready to do something and the cars were coming down the street stopping and waving. Now that’s what we want to have happen.”

Former Ichabod football player Bernie Bianchino said the talent on the field, and the fun off the field, brought people out.

“People look at Washburn and they go, ‘oh that’s just a small college,’ these are great programs, these are great athletes,” said Bianchino. “I mean we’ve turned out, my son played here from 05-09 he played with 6 guys that made it to the NFL. It’s just a great program for Topeka and for Kansas in general.”

Fellow football alum Luke Yoder was with his friends right when the tail gate area opened at 4 p.m. He said it was fun celebrating with old friends -- while meeting new ones.

“Having this Thursday night game, playing under the lights in Yager stadium, it’s hard to beat.”

Farley plans to keep the momentum going.

“On every college campus in the country, people are just excited if they see a crowd this big. You go to some places and they don’t have a crowd at all, they have a band. That’s it. But here, we’ve got history that this is tailgate area and when I first came, there wasn’t a car out here, there wasn’t a street here,” he said. “We put this in to get the library and it’s just grown since then.”

Fans did not have to wear a mask being outside but they were encouraged if they could not social distance properly.

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