SouthtownStar reporter/blogger Steve Millar put together a nice blog from the trip to Rome, Ga.
SouthtownStar reporter/blogger Steve Millar put together a nice blog from the trip to Rome, Ga.
Football - Tue, Dec. 20, 2011

The SouthtownStar newspaper sent reporter/blogger Steve Millar with the Cougar football team on its trip to Rome, Ga., and the 56th Annual Russell-Athletic NAIA Football National Championship game.  Below are some of the highlights from his blog entries on the trip, which gives fans an "All-Access" pass into some of the best moments of the week.  Enjoy!   

(Editor's note: On Saturday, Saint Xavier won its first national championship, beating Carroll for the NAIA football title. The SouthtownStar's Steve Millar was along for the ride, blogging as he traveled with the Cougars from Chicago to Rome, Ga., and back. Below are some of the highlights from his five-day excursion.)

Tuesday, 7:43 p.m.

The SXU team buses are on the highway headed southeast toward our overnight stop in Columbus, Ind. We pulled away from campus about an hour ago after an energetic send-off inside and outside of the Shannon Center.

The players were fired up as we departed campus with hundreds of fans lining the sides of the buses.

Defensive lineman Matt Yerkes summed it up nicely to me, saying "This is the real deal."

Well, we're on our way and — after a spirited debate ("Space Jam" was the other main request) — watching "Avatar."

Wednesday, 12:42 a.m.

Hello from the Comfort Inn and Suites in Columbus, Ind.

We've arrived for our brief stay in Hoosier country.

The bus ride down was pretty quick, though it wasn't all smooth. We had to make a brief stop on the side of the highway as a player's left-behind bag was driven out to us. The players also were upset about some problems with a shoddy DVD player.

We did manage to watch all of "Space Jam," though. And let me tell you, there was a lot of singing along to "I Believe I Can Fly" by Southland legend R. Kelly (yes, "legend" is said tongue-in-cheek there — just to be clear). That was probably the highlight of this relatively short leg of the trip.

This hotel is a nice one for team-bonding as there's a huge lounge on the second floor, where some players are gathered playing cards and chatting as I write this. 

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