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Homecoming, W&M style: Nothing but fun

  • Parade fun
    Parade fun  People of all ages really get into the homecoming parade at W&M.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Tradition
    Tradition  W&M alumni celebrate past and present during homecoming festivities.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Chasing a playoff berth
    Chasing a playoff berth  Jimmye Laycock's fifth-ranked football team is 5-1 this season and planning for a return to the NCAA playoffs.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Symbol of pride
    Symbol of pride  The Tribe football team clashes with CAA rival James Madison University Saturday at noon.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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     There will be floats and food, games and galas, old friends and new frontiers, even some dancin’ in the streets.

      It’s Homecoming, 2009, a perfect opportunity to revisit the College you knew and loved and immerse yourself with thousands who share that same sentiment.

     Homecoming will feature something old – the Tribe football team’s critical conference game against rival James Madison University. And it will introduce several new events.

     Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. at Phi Beta Kappa Hall, the College’s modern dance company, Orchesis, will present faculty works performed by faculty, students and guest artists.

     One of Friday's highlights is sure to be a conversation with W&M President Taylor Reveley, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the Sadler Center's Commonwealth Auditorium. President Reveley and other College administrators  will address not only the challenges W&M faces, but the opportunities that lie ahead.

     On Friday from 6:30-8 p.m. on the second floor of the Wren Building, the Class of 1984 will hold its 25th anniversary celebration. 

 Meanwhile, just down the street at the Muscarelle Museum of Art will be Dancin’ in the Streets, featuring the eclectic music of Power Play. The event runs from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. and also offers the chance to take in the 11th Faculty Show, featuring works by studio artists from the Department of Art and History.

     Saturday following the 9 a.m. parade down Duke of Gloucester Street, Richmond Road and Brooks Street, coach Jimmye Laycock’s fifth-ranked Tribe take on JMU. The 2007 FCS national champions are an uncharacteristic 2-4 this season.

     The Tribe, meanwhile, is 5-1, their best start since 1994. They’re coming off a bye week, should be well-rested and prepared to present the Dukes with some new tricks.

     In addition to its usually potent offense, W&M boasts one of the nation’s top defensive units this season. The Tribe is 11th nationally, second in the nation against the run, allowing just 64.8 yards per game.

     Among the W&M players to keep an eye on are All-American defensive end Adrian Tracy, who boasts 5½ sacks and 8½ tackles behind the line of scrimmage in three conference games.

     Then there’s cornerback B.W. Webb, sixth in the nation in interceptions with four.

     On offense, quarterback R.J. Archer has been the picture of consistency. Archer is second in the CAA in total offense, accounting for 241.7b yards per game running and throwing. Archer has completed nearly 67 percent of his passes over the last four games.

     Sophomore running back Jonathan Grimes is second in the league in all-purpose yards and rushing yards. His 21 pass receptions is the top mark among league running backs.

     JMU also is stout defensively, ranking third in the conference and 25th nationally. The Dukes have the nation’s sixth-best pass defense, allowing just 143 yards through the air.

     Be forewarned: if you don’t have your tickets for the game yet, you’re going to need a lot of help. The game is officially sold out, and the ticket has been one of the hottest in town for several weeks.

     The game, however, will be shown live at a couple of places on campus. The Alumni House will carry the game on five televisions interspersed throughout the house. The Sadler Center is devoting two big-screen televisions to the event; one in the second-floor lobby, the other in Lodge 1 on the first floor.

     In addition, there are plenty of other sporting events scheduled for campus this weekend. On Friday night at 5:30 p.m., the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams play host to Mary Washington. At 7 p.m. the same night, the women’s soccer team faces George Mason at Albert-Daly Field, while the women’s volleyball team meets Northeastern.

     On Saturday, the College’s men’s soccer team, the highest-scoring team, in the Colonial Athletic Association, plays host to conference foe Hofstra at Albert-Daly Field. The women’s volleyball team continues a busy weekend with another match, also against Hofstra.

     On Sunday at 2 p.m., women’s soccer is home to Towson.