CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The Howard Tigers have hustled their way to the playoffs twice in the last three years. This year brings a brand new stadium and brand new energy as the 2019 Tigers try to make their mark in Howard’s history.
“For people to really put energy towards this stadium, it’s a big thing for us, and we’re honored to be able to play on it,” senior running back and linebacker Davontay Smith said.
The first week of football will look a lot different for the Howard Tigers in their new 17-hundred seat stadium off I-24.
“I think it’s going to give them a sense of pride. In my opinion, we’re going to have the best facilities in Hamilton County now. Now we have something that we can really be proud of, that we really hang our hat on,” head coach John Starr said.
“It’s going to energize us a lot because now we’ve got people who are going to come to the games, look at us. We won’t have to worry about this busted up track, and all this with our cleats falling and everybody slipping before the game. So it’s going to be fun to watch, good to play on. And we’re going to be the first team to play on it so, yeah, we got to win a couple games on that field,” senior receiver and quarterback Calvin James said.
Winning games will come down to the run game for the Tigers, who have three returning and experienced backs.
“They understand the tempo we need to practice. They understand how hard we need to play on Friday night. So that experience you just can’t replace,” Starr said.
“It’s going to help a lot because we already know the feel of the field and how the game going to play and what we need to do so we don’t have to be going over the same stuff repeatedly like for the past years. We already know what to do,” James said.
“We’re kind of a throwback, we’ve always been a throwback team. We want to run the football and we just want to play hard football like they did in the old days,” Starr said.
Playing hard football means lasting all four quarters.
“We just need that extra push. We expect bigger things out of our program,” Starr said.
“It’s always that fourth quarter push that we always mess up at and give up on. But I feel like this year we’re going to push through all four quarters. We’ve been running a lot, a whole lot, about 1,000 yards every practice. So we should be ready for the fourth quarter,” James said.
Howard debuts their new stadium August 23 against Stratford.