NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - After three tough road games against FBS level teams at the NCAA DI level, the Stephen F. Austin football team is ready to walk out onto the turf at Homer Bryce Stadium for their home opener this Saturday against West Texas A&M.
The team has been hard at work on the practice field this week, while the administration has been at work for weeks to make sure the stadium is ready to go.
Due to COVID-19 mitigation plans, Homer Bryce will only seat 7,000. It’s normal maximum capacity is listed at 14,500. All fans will be required to wear masks.
“it is about more than football on game day,” head coach Colby Carthel said. “It is about the fans, the band, the cheerleaders, the student groups. It should be exciting on Saturday. I’m excited to see what this place will look like with everyone spread out. It won’t be packed in there. I think we will see folks all the way around the horseshoe and then in the grass on both sides. I think it will make for a neat environment.”
So far, SFA has played at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, the Alamo Dome in San Antonio and Gerald Ford Stadium in Dallas. Each place has helped prepare the staff.
“I have taken notes and snapped pictures on my phone at each one,” Athletic Director Ryan Ivey said. “While we didn’t plan it this way. The reality is we had an opportunity to wait about a month before we had a home game. We could look and see what others were doing and try to take what worked and understand what didn’t work and try to apply it for us here.”
As of Thursday afternoon, about 70 percent of the available tickets were not sold. Fans will be able to sit in pods of 2, 4 and 6 people. Tailgating is only allowed if you pre-purchased one of their 30 tailgate passes. SFA is hoping people will use their paperless ticket option on their website. The school has also partnered up with the app “SEATZ” to provide an option of having food delivered to your seats. The gates to let people in will open at 2:30 p.m. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.
Ivey said his staff will sit down after the first game and revaluate their plan and see if any changes nee to be made before their game on October 10 against Angelo State.