PRINCESS ANNE, Md - It's been nearly 35 years since the last intercollegiate football season at UMES, and nearly eight months after officials ended the drive for an official football program, the game still goes on.
It's the sophomore season of the school's club football team, which now plays in the National Club Football Association, where they're undefeated in the Mid Atlantic Conference.
"Football motivates some of these kids you know," said Offensive Coach Jawan Poole. "It gives them a little bit of life."
And that's something that's needed at the school, says Professor Bryant Mitchell, Head Coach of the team.
"What I really care about is the competitive attitude, the competitive spirit that I feel is missing from this university," Mitchell said.
Mitchell also works with Hawks for Football, Inc., a non-profit pushing for the reinstatement of football at UMES. The group also runs the "Skip McCain Fund," which finances the football program.
After the February decision by UMES President Juliette Bell, the university said it will revisit the school's financial situation in three years to see if it is in a place to support a football team.
"We've always been an institution where the lack of resources was never a deterrent," Mitchell said.
And the spirit of the game is still strong.
The crowd braved the rain Saturday to watch the Hawks take on the Delaware Gamecocks of Dover, a team with it's own unique circumstances.
"My guys go to Delaware Tech and some of them go to Wilmington University," said Head Coach Ronike Haynie. "They came from programs where they weren't groomed to be collegiate athletes."
Despite the challenges each team faces on and off the field, they're dedicated to keeping football a part of their collegiate experience.
"I know it motivates me," Poole said. "So I think football, for both of these programs and getting us back to where we were, I think football is doing a great job."
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