The notification to the team came on a non-practice day, and most would expect that once the players were released by the coaches, they would head home for some rest. But the players on the 1993 team had other plans.
“While that was all I had to say, there was something that went through the locker room that day,” remembered Walbrick. “We weren’t practicing that day, but they stayed around and visited. That showed the coaching staff that they had taken this second chance to heart, and we played our best football in the final three games of the season.”
The Tigers went on the road for the first game, only to return home with a 24-22 victory over Western New Mexico.
“It was a 17-hour bus ride that started Wednesday night for that first game, and we had a bus burn up just as we got into town,” commented Walbrick. “So we had to load all the players onto one bus after we checked into the hotel to head over to practice, but they didn’t let that bother them.”
ECU continued its run by making a strong statement with a 27-0 victory over future conference foe Arkansas-Monticello to reach the championship game against Glenville State.
“The atmosphere at home was very inspiring,” Walbrick said. “We had several pep rallies, but the one before the championship game at the Kerr Activities Center was packed. During the pep rallies, one of our players went over and banged on the drums with the band. That is the type of players we had. They were students first and wanted to be part of the atmosphere.”
In what was described on the box score as perfect conditions for a mid-December football game, 5,750 fans packed Norris Field for what would become a 12-touchdown offensive battle.