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Championship game more than ‘just another day’

Greenville natives Casey Rogers and Jennie Hamilton were present during Monday’s memorable championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers.

Greenville natives Casey Rogers and Jennie Hamilton were present during Monday’s memorable championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers.

A pair of Greenville residents enjoyed Monday night’s national championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers, but their seats were decidedly better than most.

Casey Rogers and her friend, Jennie Hamilton, were two of a sizeable crowd of 75,756 (approximately 4,756 people over capacity) present during Monday night’s game.

Rogers, who is no stranger to attending national championship football games, said that Monday night’s contest was one for the record books, in more ways than one.

“The atmosphere was absolutely incredible,” Rogers said.

“Clemson fans definitely brought their A-game in supporting their team.

“Of the championships I’ve been to, this was by far my favorite in terms of atmosphere and fan base.  There was just so much talent on the field.”

The battle between the Tigers and the Tide is already being deemed an instant classic, and it was only after Clemson’s desperate but errant onside kick attempt that Tide fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief.

But it was Alabama’s earlier onside kick—a defining turning point and the impetus for 24 fourth-quarter points—that set Crimson Tide fans alight in the stands.

“I think this one held America’s attention until the end,” Rogers said.

“The onside kick was insane.  My friend Jennie and I were jumping in the air at our seats.

“It was funny to look around, because even some Alabama fans were standing in disbelief.”

Alabama was a 7-point betting favorite in the championship bout with Clemson, but it would’ve proven difficult to tell at the conclusion of Monday’s game, according to Rogers.

“My favorite part of the whole experience would probably have to be seeing the faces of Alabama players light up as soon as the confetti dropped,” Rogers said.

“I’m sure people think that just because we’ve won four in the past seven years, it’s just another day for Alabama, but that’s not the case at all.

“It’s great to see our players get to revel in their victory after so much hard work.”

There were numerous other highlights for Rogers and Hamilton’s brief excursion in Glendale, Ariz., including an exceptional tailgating experience sponsored by Northwestern Mutual that featured a great culmination of Alabama and Clemson fans, as well as great music and food.

But perhaps the best feeling for Rogers was the confidence that, despite an exceptional past seven years for the Crimson Tide, the future looks as bright as ever.

“I couldn’t be more confident in the program,” Rogers said.

“Coach Saban has built Alabama’s program in such a way that everyone from recruits to players to fans believe in it and support it.

“We’ve seen the ups and downs throughout seasons too, but Alabama’s ability to move past defeat and prepare for what’s next seems to be unparalleled.  With top new recruits, returning players and a remarkable coaching staff, I don’t see Alabama’s future fading anytime soon.”