HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi celebrated a huge victory against Savannah State over the weekend, but it wasn't only the 56 – 0 defeat that made Saturday an unforgettable night in the Pine Belt. From the stands, all who attended the game witnessed a dedication to law enforcement that merited a standing ovation.
There were tackles, timeouts, and touchdown after touchdown.
"I'm having a good time. I brought my whole family out. We're just out enjoying the game," said Andrew Phillips, a Marion County Investigator.
Southern Miss took it "to the top." It was a night of nothing but Golden Eagle pride for the Pine Belt.
"This was my first Southern game. I've been to a few LSU games, but never Southern. I'll be back," Phillips said.
The halftime performance wouldn't feature the traditional bands serenading the crowd on the field.
Golden Eagle fans could hear the announcer say, "As the nation reflects on the recent violent acts and tragedies that have taken place across our country, the University of Southern Mississippi, The City of Hattiesburg, the county, and State of Mississippi law enforcement officials stand together today united as one."
"It was good seeing everybody stand up clapping their hands saluting us," Phillips said.
"By it being the first home game, it really makes all of us in law enforcement feel special," said James Lewis, Marion County Sheriff's Deputy.
It was a dedication to law enforcement and their families and recognition for the risks they take daily in the line of duty.
"Especially with so many negative things in the media right now about law enforcement. It brings you down sometimes, but it's good to see all the support," Phillips said.
"With Hattiesburg losing two of their officers recently, it really felt great to hear them cheer us on and appreciate us," Lewis said.
The sense of appreciation was evident as the crowd roared and stood to their feet to honor the officers.
"Felt good considering all the things that law enforcement has been through," Lewis said.
"It was nice to know that a lot of people still appreciate what we do," Phillips said.
The night was a win in more than one way for USM. It was a triumph in Pine Belt football, love, and respect.
Over 500 officers and their families from all around Mississippi were able to attend the game because Golden Eagle fans bought their tickets.
We want to hear your good news. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell us your name, number, and your story. We may just air your good news right here on WDAM 7 Sunrise.