MERCER COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — In just a year, in the middle of the pandemic, Bluefield State College put together a football program from scratch!

On Sept. 4 they took the field for their debut. For the first time in 41 years, the Bluefield University Big Blue took the football field to take on Lawrence Tech!

“Hey, we finally made it here, it is very emotional at that point just to give it back to the people of Bluefield,” said Tony Coaxum, Bluefield State College head football coach.

Excitement was in the air, in the stands on the field as the community rallied around the return of football for the HBCU.

“That’s what, we know this is supposed to be here because we had this kinda turnout for today’s game,” said Coaxum.

First-time Head Coach Tony Coaxum said the energy is going to be key to their returning year.

“We are a young group and we don’t have a full roster and we are going to need all the energy we can get, especially during these home games,” said Coaxum.

Bluefield State got the chance to celebrate their first touchdown since 1980! And they took every second to soak it in!

Coach Coaxum said as a young team they need to focus on playing their style of football as a unit.

In the end, the Blue Devils came out on top, 21 to 14.

“I don’t care what the score says, the outlook that we are focused on is how we fight how we work and we give everything we got and I told them in the locker room you give everything you got and I will come drag you off the field myself and they did that today,” said Coaxum.

And for the community, the mentality seemed the same.

“Good job, yes, hold your heads up, we proud of yall, after 41 years, freshmen and sophomores, yall did a great job,” said one of the fans as the team left the field.

Coach Coaxum said after week one, he has high hopes for his guys. His military background taught him the importance of perseverance and brotherhood.

” If we get this team anywhere near the brotherhood we have with my West Point brothers, we are going to have something pretty doggone special, and we are getting there. They are fighting and clawing, they believe in each other and I am humbled they believe in me and we got that going on. The “X”s and “O”s, that stuff takes care of itself, if we continue to bond and get there we are going to be just fine,” said Coaxum.

The Big Blue hit the road to take on Elizabeth State City Sept. 11 at 1:30 p.m.