The Beta Gamma Delta Patriots defeated the Sigma Alpha Chi Spartans 2-1 in Bob Jones University’s annual Turkey Bowl soccer championship on Nov. 12. The Collegian estimates that over 1,800 students, faculty, alumni, family and community members attended the event.
The Patriots approached the game with an undefeated season. The Spartans also played well this year with a record of 7-2. Patriots player Austin Huffman described the rivalry between the Patriots and Spartans as “new and coming up.”
“The rivalry with Sigma has been a fun one as we’ve been the top two teams for the last three years now,” Huffman said. “A rivalry is a great way to be pushed by a team, and we welcome the challenge.”
The pregame ceremonies began with entrances by both teams as they walked beside the stands packed with students, faculty and alumni. Following the starting lineup announcements, the game ball was dropped from a drone 150 feet in the air.
Just six minutes into the game, Spartan Simon Fickel scored the first goal following a well-placed free kick by his teammate Daniel Bell. Fans cheered loudly and confetti cannons exploded into the stands.
The Spartans were able to maintain their 1-0 lead for 20 minutes. Patriots player Jason Ross managed to get a breakaway toward the opposing goal. He was fouled inside the goalie box, resulting in a penalty kick for the Patriots. James Matthia took the PK, sending the ball to the top right corner of the net and tying the game. It was the Patriots fans’ turn for excitement as more confetti cannons erupted into the stands. With 10 minutes left in the first half, Ross dribbled the ball past the Spartans’ defense and scored the second goal for the Patriots.
Both teams fought hard throughout the second half, but no one managed to score another goal. When the final whistle was blown, the Patriots and their fans erupted into cheers. Dr. Steve Pettit presented the winning team with the Turkey Bowl trophy. The Patriots’ win marked their sixth Turkey Bowl win in the last seven years.
It was a well played game for both teams. Spartans player Ethan Rogers is proud of his team for working hard to make it to the championship. “Our goal is to play our best, and at the end of the day walk away with our heads held high so that we can say we honored God,” he said.
Just before the Turkey Bowl kickoff, the Theta Sigma Chi Colts defeated the Pi Delta Chi Classics 5-2 in the women’s championship soccer game. The teams appeared to be evenly matched, both with season records of 8-1. However, the Colts took an early lead, and the Classics were not able to catch up.
Following both championship games, students were welcomed to the Activity Center for Fall Fest. There was a selection of soups for the students to taste and vote for their favorite. Popcorn and apple cider were also served. BJU inflated a bouncy house and slide for students to enjoy as well. Despite the chilly weather, it was an exciting night for the BJU community.