Comets feed off fan support in 2020 season opener
On Saturday, the Mayville State Comets opened their 2020 football season.
In the unusual year that's been 2020, first-year head coach Rocky Larson was pleased to kick the season off.
"Shout out to our athletic director Ryan Hall and shout out to our president, Dr. Van Horn, for giving us the opportunity to be able to play," said Larson after the game. "We've done a lot of meetings, and a lot of stuff throughout the summer to make this happen and we did. We pulled it off when everyone said we couldn't."
The Comets welcomed the Waldorf Warriors to Jerome Berg Field where the two teams engaged in a shootout won by the Warriors in front of a crowd aimed at 50 percent capacity. Fans were encouraged to social distance and wear masks.
Mayville State alum Corey McGillis said he thought having fans in the stands to support the football team would do a lot for the players' morale.
"I think it's a great message of support just to come out here, you know, these kids, this is what they're here to do," said McGillis. "They enjoy it and for us to be here to show 'em that we're proud of them to be able to do it and that we're gonna support them in every step of the way."
Mayville State Class of '98 alumnus Jeremy Hughes couldn't agree more.
"It's just great to see the excitement and everything around the community for these kids to be able to get back on the field and bring some, bring some life back into the community and get everything rolling again like fall's supposed to be," he said.
For the players on the field, having fans in the stands was a sight greatly welcomed. For one Comet, he said it could have been the largest crowd he'd ever played in front of at Jerome Berg Field.
"I would think it's the biggest crowd I've played in here - I couldn't tell you for sure but definitely thinking it is," said senior quarterback Creighton Pfau.
In front of that crowd, Mayville State put up 418 total yards of offense. Pfau himself tossed for 356 yards and five touchdowns.
"The support from the Mayville Community and the Mayville State Community was really amazing today," Pfau said after the game. "It was a really fun atmosphere to play in so I'd just like to say thank you to all the fans that came out."
As some colleges around the country set their crowd limits, others are still working to figure out how to limit fan capacity at its football games. With a crowd present at Saturday's game, true freshman wide receiver Elijah Roundtree put on a show.
He'd finish the game with seven catches for 213 yards and two touchdowns - a 60-yarder and 78-yarder.
"You can't beat that," Roundtree said after the game of the fan support. "Support is one of the biggest things in the game to me. Without support it's just you, just you and your team. I feel like Mayville has THE best support in North Dakota right now."
Hughes noted the strong support the community has for Comets football, especially during this time period.
"It's just, great to see that, especially in these times, you know, to get everybody out here and rally around our kids and it's just fun," he said.
Saturday was one of four home games the Comets will play at home this season. Their next home game will be Sept. 26 against Dakota State.