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UMass’ Pennsylvanians looking forward to playing at Lincoln Financial Field

  • UMass tight end Adam Breneman (right) will be playing on Lincoln Financial Field Friday against Temple, the same field his favorite player, Eagles’ tight end Brent Celek calls home on Sundays. AP/ GAZETTE FILE



@MattVautourDHG
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Adam Breneman didn’t go to school on Feb. 7, 2005. He was too distraught.

Back then, the UMass tight end was among the biggest Philadelphia Eagles fans in his fifth-grade class.

So the day after his Eagles lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX, he wasn’t ready to see people yet.

“I stayed home,” Breneman said. “I was so upset.”

While his fandom no longer requires parental notes to his teachers, he still roots for the green and white.

Breneman, who grew up in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, which sits about 110 miles northwest of Philadelphia, and the Minutemen will play on Lincoln Financial Field at 7 p.m. Friday against Temple.

Breneman has been on a lot of big stages in his football career. But this will be his first time playing on the field he’d daydream about as a kid.

“It’s going to be cool. It’s a game we’ve had circled for a while,” said Breneman, who wore No. 87 in high school because of his admiration for Eagles tight end Brent Celek. “It’s going to surreal to be playing there, a nice little home coming for us.”

Andrew Ford, Breneman’s high school teammate and fellow Camp Hill native, is also an Eagles supporter.

“I’ve been a couple times as a fan. I’m excited to get there and get on the field. It’ll be really cool. I’m really looking forward to it,” the junior quarterback said. “I was obviously a Donovan McNabb fan being a quarterback and I love the way Brian Dawkins played. Everyone from Philly loves the way Brian Dawkins plays. I’d watch them every Sunday.”

Linebacker Bryton Barr, the third member of UMass’ Camp Hill trio, isn’t an Eagles fan.

“But I am a Carson Wentz fan,” he said of the Eagles’ second-year quarterback. “I’ve watched a couple professional games there. I’m definitely looking forward to playing there.

Two UMass players went to high school in Philadelphia, but Charly Timite is a New York Giants fan and Ray Thomas-Ishman Sr. roots for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I was born in New Jersey and moved to Philly,” Timite said. “I can’t wait to play Temple. Everybody is going to be there.”

All five of UMass’ Pennsylvanians, as well as others from mid-Atlantic states, are expecting quite a contingent. The cars coming from Camp Hill could further slow the already traffic-clogged I-76 on Friday.

“There’ll probably be 50 people. Andrew has a ton coming. Bryton has a ton coming. I’ve been trying to find tickets wherever I can,” Breneman said.

Each player in the travel party gets four tickets for family or friends. Breneman said he’s trying to trade his tickets for next month’s game at South Florida to UMass’ Sunshine staters for Temple tickets.

Breneman was chasing value on the team’s secondary ticket market.

“I’m going to try to trade one USF ticket for four Temple tickets,” he said. “We’ll see how that goes.”

UMass coach Mark Whipple spent 2008 as an Eagles offensive assistant under Andy Reid. That year, Philadelphia was the last wild card team in the playoffs and advanced to the NFC Championship before losing to Arizona.

Whipple said he hadn’t thought much about that season this week but remember it fondly.

“It was a good time, a real good time. We went to the championship game,” he said. “We won a lot of games. It was good.”

HOLINES CLOSER — Senior defensive lineman Sha-Ki Holiness, who has yet to see action this season with a foot injury, has expanded his practice participation and could play Friday.

NOON AT TENNESSEE — Tennessee officially announced the Sept. 23 game against UMass in Knoxville will start at noon on the SEC Network.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage