“Everything you could ask for” SEMO football gears up for rivalry game, first game at renovated Houck Field

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – A home opener in a newly renovated stadium, and a conference and rivalry game on top of that: this is everything SEMO quarterback Paxton DeLaurent could ask for. 

“This is everything you could ask for as a player,” he said. “Home openers are always exciting, but to get to open up Houck, you know, this is my first time here seeing a home stand on that side because last year was my first year and getting to see it, so it’s going to be super exciting to see so many fans here, and I think it’s going to be a packed house.” 

Head Coach Tom Matukewicz said this stadium and this game are about more than just the football being played on the new turf. 

“For some reason, today it just kind of hit me how special this game really is because I know all the people it’s taken to get it to this spot, the sacrifices, the work, and it’s just pretty cool when you have that kind of alignment,” Matukewicz said.

And in addition to this game being the home opener, it is the second edition of the Game Ball Brawl rivalry between SEMO and Lindenwood, and the first one at Houck Field. 

Wide receiver Ryan Flournoy echoed his coach in saying how much this stadium means to the community. 

“This is where everyone can come together and just celebrate Redhawks for real,” he said. “There are a lot of games that have been won in Houck, and we’ve got to continue that tradition.” 

So, the quest for a second straight conference championship begins with the first game on a new field against a team that has already become a fierce rival. 

“We’re the first team to play on this field, so it’s going to be exciting whooping Lindenwood,” Flournoy said.

“It’s a game you’ve got to win,” Matukewicz said. “I mean, at the end of the day, that doesn’t mean our season’s over, but we can’t have a great season and lose to Lindenwood.”

Kickoff is slated for Saturday Sept. 9 at 6 pm..

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