It had been more than 75 years since McDaniel College hosted a night football game. But unlike the 1937 squad, the 2013 McDaniel Green Terror lost its lone game under the lights, 48-16, to Catholic University Saturday.
"The atmosphere was very good, but when you take a loss like that it's tough," senior linebacker Mike Cousar said of playing under the lights at McDaniel.
In its first game of the 2013 season, McDaniel played the first home night game since 1937 when the Green Terror topped now-defunct Upsala College, 19-0.
Although the reason for the 1937 night game is unknown, the college installed a temporary lighting system around Hoffa field, according to McDaniel Trustee James Lightner.
Lightner, a McDaniel alum, wrote "Fearless and Bold: A History of McDaniel College, 1866-2002," which was published in 2007.
The 1937 game was attended by Maryland Governor Harry Nice, Lightner said.
Permanent stadium lighting was installed around Kenneth R. Gill Stadium as part of a more than $8 million construction project, which was completed within the past month.
While the stadium was dedicated Nov. 3, some work inside the grandstand was completed last week, according to athletic director Paul Moyer.
The stadium lighting was funded in part by a $100,000 gift from the Yingling family.
Carroll Yingling, a trustee of the college and former football player at what was then Western Maryland College, said the family decided to help fund the project after former coach Tim Keating said lights were needed for night games and to add flexibility for practice times.
Not only do the lights add practice flexibility for football, but it opens possibilities for other teams as well as for other college activities.
"I think it's just something that the kids can look forward to and everybody can be proud of," Yingling said of adding lights to the stadium. "It will attract student-athletes."
Despite Saturday's outcome, McDaniel football coach Mike Hoyt said he hopes to play more night games in the future because if there are athletes who want to play small college football in the Northeast, he thinks McDaniel offers the perfect venue.
"This is a great atmosphere, I think it's a lot of fun," he said.
Saturday's tilt is the only night game on McDaniel's schedule this year, but Moyer said the plan is to begin playiing more night games in the future.
He said the school will have to negotiate contracts with conference opponents to play more games at night. McDaniel President Roger Casey said the college would love to hold more night games.
"There's been just a tremendous excitement," Casey said of the atmosphere for McDaniel's first night game since 1937.
McDaniel senior running back Joe Rollins led the team in rushing with 22 carries for 129 yards and in receiving with five catches for 36 yards.
"Having the hill filled with all the fans and alums coming out here to support [us], the atmosphere was wonderful," Rollins said.