Whether they were stars, solid contributors or spectators from the bench, 16 seniors ended their football playing careers at CSU in the Rams’ 17-16 loss against Wyoming Friday.
It was a disappointing end to an even more disappointing season coming off a 7-6 record and a New Mexico Bowl victory a year ago.
A choked up Steve Fairchild said after Friday’s game that the loss breaks his heart for the seniors.
“We have 16 disappointed seniors in that locker room. There’s not much you can say to those guys,” the head coach said.
The loss also broke the heart of junior fullback Zac Pauga.
“It just absolutely kills me the way these seniors had to play,” Pauga said after the game. “Our senior O-line, they were doing amazing this year, and it just breaks my heart that we couldn’t do more for them as a team.”
Seniors made up four of the five starters on the offensive line. Gone next year are tackle Cole Pemberton, guards Shelley Smith and Adrian Martinez and center Tim Walter.
“You don’t really want it to end,” Pemberton said before the Wyoming game.
Senior wide receiver Dion Morton said he has learned a lot about himself and has grown as a person in his playing time at CSU.
“I’ve learned about work ethic. No matter what you do on Saturdays, you’ve got to work for it,” Morton said. “That’s just anything in life: school, football, relationships, family, whatever. You’ve got to work at everything; nothing is given to you.”
Fellow receiver Rashaun Greer caught eight balls for 46 yards in his final game. He said his time at CSU has been fun.
“I definitely have no regrets. I’ve enjoyed every moment I’ve had here. It’s been fun,” Greer said.
Fairchild said football at CSU is going to turn around and he hopes the 16 seniors come back to see successful Rams teams in the future.
“We’re going to get it done here. They’re just going to have to come back and watch it I guess,” Fairchild said.
Football beat reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org._