OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – Fall is almost here which means football season is back. Kentucky Wesleyan College kicked off their season on September 2 as they hosted Frostburg State.

“This is probably one of the most exciting days we’ve had in the last 18 months,” said KWC President Tom Mitzel.

The home opener was long awaited – fans filled Steele Stadium to cheer on the Panthers.

Corey Gant, Class of 2008, has been deemed the king of the tailgates. He said, “we’re really excited to be back out here after last year’s season being cancelled and pushed to the spring. We only got about three games back earlier this year so we’re really excited to have the whole team here.”

Players were happy to get back out on the turf and show their fans what they’ve accomplished as a team.

“Last year we didn’t have a lot of opportunities to get what we wanted to get. But I think this whole summer camp we had, we developed and we’ve grown more as a team,” said redshirt freshman Imonte Owsley.

These athletes are playing for the love of the game.

“It’s a chance for you to get to play four more years. You get to experience that college football atmosphere. I was in that same boat when I was here. It was just fun – enjoyed it, met a lot of people. Most of the people you meet here become your friends for life,” Gant added.

President Mitzel said the main goal is to see students excel academically and grow as leaders, with the coaches and staff as mentors. He said, “they are helping these young men make that transition from older adolescence into adulthood and they learn all the leadership skills on the field. They learn everything that you need in order to go on to be that generational leader that we are hoping in the next 10 or 15 years.”

But even he knows it can’t be all work and no play all the time.

He added, “they also get to play a lot of football and have a lot of fun and we’re competitive – we want to win. But the main goal is to get your degree and if we can rack up a lot of wins while we do that, we’re better for it.”

The players said they’re thrilled to be able to do what they love as a team.

“We’re just a big family!” said Owsley.

The Panthers fought the Bobcats till the end, but ended up falling to Frostburg State 20 – 13 in their season opener. KWC will be back at Steele Stadium for their next home game on September 25.