MIAMI GARDENS — Andrew Fish was part of a new era that St. Thomas University and its fans welcomed as the school’s football team made its debut.
With Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III and former Dolphins great Nat Moore watching from the sideline, the St. Thomas football team played its inaugural game Sept. 7 in front of packed stands at Monsignor Pace High School, which is next door to the college’s campus. The era kicked off at high noon with 2,650 spectators in attendance.
Fish, a Seminole Nation of Oklahoma member who grew up on the Brighton Reservation and attended Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School and Moore Haven High School, wore No. 77 and started on the offensive line at left tackle.
In his first college game, the 6-foot-4 Fish looked right at home as he helped protect quarterback Jordan Sepulveda’s blind side and pave the way for nearly 300 yards in total offense against Thomas More University of Kentucky.
“I think the O line did pretty good for the first time together,” Fish said after the game.
Thomas More spoiled the inauguration party with a 38-14 win, but there were plenty of highlights, especially in the second half, for the new kids on the block.
After a shaky first half which saw them fall into a 24-0 deficit and struggle to move the ball, the Bobcats came out in the third quarter looking sharper.
They picked up two first downs on the first possession of the quarter and capped off the drive on a 12-yard run by Robert Armes for the school’s first-ever points.
Fish provided key blocking on that play as he did in the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-two run by Armes for a first down which led to the team’s first touchdown pass a couple plays later.
Fish, who only started playing football a couple years ago, said he enjoys his spot on the O line.
“I love left tackle,” said Fish, whose supporters in the stands included his mom Angie, his aunts Michele and Cheryl, and one of his former coaches at Moore Haven, Andy Ringstaff.
Despite the final score, St. Thomas and the Miami Gardens community basked in the fact that college football had arrived.
“We’re a football town. This is the beginning of something that is going to be great,” Mayor Gilbert said during a ceremony on the field.
“We won a lot of games when we practiced here. The Bobcats will take on that same mantra and win a lot of games here,” said Moore, who starred for the Dolphins in the 1970s and 80s.
It didn’t take long for St. Thomas to earn its first win. The following Saturday the Bobcats defeated Union College, 45-20, in Barbourville, Kentucky.
St. Thomas’s 10-game regular season will conclude Nov. 16.
Fish is majoring in sports administration. He said he would like to be a coach someday.