TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — September 1 marks the beginning of the Indiana State University Sycamores’ football season, but players are taking the field with heavy hearts.
ISU plays against the University of North Alabama at home with a start time of 6 p.m.
On August 21, a crash involving 5 ISU students including several football players, claimed the lives of three people and injured two others.
Christian Eubanks and Caleb Vanhooser died at the scene, both were on the football team. Jayden Musili, a first-year student, died as a result of his injuries.
Omarion Dixon and John Moore, also football players, were seriously injured in the crash and they continue to recover at the hospital.
Since then, the community has rallied around the Sycamores with several different events and initiatives including memorial services, “Wear Blue Day” and a memorial at the crash site has continually grown.
ISU’s first game has been labeled as a ‘white out’ where fans are encouraged to wear white as a sign of support.
Hundreds filled Memorial Stadium to support. The newly formed Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Sprint Football team came out to support the Sycamores. Head Coach Blaine Powell said that this is something that they needed to do.
“I just think that it was a good thing to do to support Coach Mallory and his staff and his players,” Powell said. “After everything that has happened, it’s just something that we felt like we needed to do.”
SMWC is just a short trip on US-40 away in West Terre Haute. Powell emphasized that the Wabash Valley is like a family and that they plan to offer as much support as they can.
“The Wabash Valley is a very close knit group and we support each other and that’s why we’re here,” Powell stated.
The Ciocca family traveled to see Rocca Ciocca get his ISU football career going. They all wore the color white to support the team.
“My brother was friends with one of the boys that passed away,” Gino Ciocca said.