Cheyney University football fans are ready for a REPEAT when they face their arch rivals, Lincoln University, in the Battle of the First on Saturday, September 2. The season home opener starts at 1 pm in O’Shields-Stevenson Stadium on the historic campus.
Last year, Cheyney won the contest in a dramatic 21-20 overtime victory on Lincoln’s home turf, sending Wolves’ fans into a cheering frenzy that lasted long into the night. Senior Linebacker Jamiel Hines remembers it well. The Business major who expects to graduate in December plans to help give Cheyney its first ‘W’ of the season when the clock ticks down to 0 on September 2.
“Battle of the First is a great tradition to start the season. It’s always competitive and everybody brings their ‘A–game’ when Lincoln comes,” Hines shares.
89 players join him on the roster this year. They’re already on the field daily practicing, running, conditioning, lifting in the weight room, meeting in the evening, and doing all they can to gel as a team.
“It’s early but I’m optimistic,” says Head Football Coach Chris Roulhac. “We have a lot of veteran guys coming back and we’ll get to develop the freshmen. We’re working hard with special teams, too. It’s always exciting at the beginning of the season. Are we going to win 12 games? We’re going to take them one at a time and the first game is with Lincoln and that’s all we’re talking about. We were successful last year but they’re a very good football team and we can’t take anything for granted. We’ve got to be ready offensively and defensively.”
For the record, Cheyney and Lincoln are the only two HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in Pennsylvania. Located just about a half hour apart, the rival schools have long debated who’s really the ‘first’ HBCU. While Cheyney was founded in 1837 as the first institution for higher learning for African Americans in the United States, 17 years before Lincoln was founded, Cheyney did not grant college degrees until 1914, after Lincoln granted them. The debate may never be settled in conversation or on the football field, but bragging rights from any Battle of the First game is what Cheyneyites and Lincolnians want.
With or without the physical battle, according to Hines, there’s no debate–“We are the first HBCU.”
Tickets for the Battle of the First game with Lincoln are $20 for adults, $10 for students with an I.D., and $5 for children 5-12 years of age. All tickets for the hotly contested game can be purchased via Ticketleap.
By the way, Cheyney will wrap its season with the Turkey Day Classic at Alabama State on Thanksgiving Day Thursday, November 23 at 3 pm.
Coach Roulhac is especially excited because, as an Albany State University football player in Georgia years ago, “we used to play Alabama State every year. I played them three times. Obviously they have a very good 1 AA program. Anytime you play ‘up’, it’s definitely a challenge.”
Cheyney Division 2 players have accepted the challenge and plan to spend all season getting ready.
“It’s a great experience and a privilege to have a chance to play in front of a crowd that big and to play a school that big,” admitted Senior Quarterback Dominick Trautz, a Social Relations major with a concentration in Criminal Justice. “We’re looking to go hard, especially the seniors because it will be our last college game.”
For now, though, the Wolf Pack is methodically getting ready for opening day. While fans from both camps will certainly pack the field house on September 2, for Cheyney, it’s all about a REPEAT!
To purchase season tickets or individual game tickets for any 2017 home games, visit Ticketleap.