CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - For the first time ever, football fans in Cape Girardeau will get to see a FCS playoff game right in their backyard at Southeast Missouri State University.
The town is gearing up for the action, and from the SEMO athletic director to local businesses, everyone agrees this is a good thing for the community.
"We're gonna be right in the middle of it, and the excitement of the fans, and just having everybody that comes to our restaurant you know will be at Houck Stadium for the playoffs. It's just super exciting,” said Nicole Evans, El Sol Mexican Restaurant worker.
El Sol faces Houck Stadium, where SEMO will play Stony Brook on Saturday at 1 p.m. Evans expects a big crowd at the restaurant that day.
“It’s not just the people that are gonna come into Cape Girardeau that day," said Brady Barke, SEMO Athletic Director. "But it’s also just exposing people to where is Cape Girardeau, what does that city have to offer, and we’re a good way for people to do that.”
Barke said the community’s response has been positive.
"I take a lot of pride in what we can do for not just our university but of course this community,” said Barke.
SEMO football fan Andy Robert hopes everybody in town comes out to the game.
“Everybody always says I’m looking for something to do,” Robert said. “Here’s something to do. You don’t see this every day. This is the first time we’ve ever hosted a playoff game.”
"Collectively as a department this is where we’ve really I think positioned ourselves to turn the corner and be able to have a lot of success and get the community I think to rally around that,” said Barke.
He said his staff works to create exposure in Cape Girardeau and the surrounding area.
“This is a community I think that’s ready to see you know perennial success, and I think this is that first step,” said Barke.
"There’s no reason to not come out, pack this place and you know show the team and the players and everybody your appreciation,” said Robert.