Fountain ceremony, spring game highlight rainy alumni weekend

Weather doesn’t stop Herd Nation from enjoying spring football

Marshall University’s annual Spring Memorial Fountain Ceremony preceded the Green and White spring football game Saturday in part of the university’s alumni weekend.

Each spring, the fountain is turned on to signify the football program’s revival from the 1970 plane crash where 75 lives were lost.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said the annual ceremony has become a representation of life.

“The ceremony means two things,” Williams said. “It obviously means we will certainly never forget what happened, and we have to constantly keep that in people’s minds. But this is also an indication of life. We have come absolutely full circle here. We were taken to our knees. However, this is a reminder with the fountain coming back on that we can stand again. And we will continue standing in the honor of the 75.”

Vinny Curry, former Marshall All-American and current Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive end, said it was important for him to come back to his alma mater for the ceremony.

“This day means so much to not only the university, but to the city of Huntington,” Curry said. “It’s definitely very important to me. ‘Tradition never graduates’ was kind of the motto when I was here.”

Curry said he wears the jersey No. 75 to honor the victims of the plane crash.

“Those guys set the foundation for me to even be a part of this program,” Curry said. “And I just want to represent them no matter where my football career takes me.”

Despite the constant rain showers throughout the day, the Green and White game followed the ceremony in typical fashion.

Senior defensive lineman Jarquez Samuel said he thought it was obvious the rain played a factor in the team’s performance on both sides of the ball.

“Before we got the indoor facility, we were out there practicing in the rain, snow and any other type of weather condition,” Samuel said. “So I think it may have hurt us some since we’ve been indoors on days where the weather is like this. We haven’t practiced in the rain all spring. We’ll be fine though. We know what we need to do to be ready for the regular season.”

Junior quarterback Michael Birdsong said the new athletic facility has been a blessing and a curse for the team.

“I think one thing we’re going to do as quarterbacks and receivers during the summer is when it’s raining we’re going to go outside and practice instead of coming into the facility,”Birdsong said.

Birdsong completed 5-20 passes for 58 yards and two touchdowns during the scrimmage.

While the passing game suffered due to the weather condition, sophomore running back Tony Pittman had the standout performance of the day.

Pittman rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.

Malcolm Walton can be contacted at [email protected]