Fitton Field

November 5, 2022
Fitton Field (Capacity: 23,500)
Worcester, MA
Holy Cross Crusaders vs Lehigh Mountain Hawks
Final Score: 42 – 14


Record warm temperatures were the impetus to changing a different trip planned for a few weeks later to this one. I made the journey to Central Massachusetts on a 75-degree day and a little five minute downpour mid-game could not dampen the exquisite conditions for this late in the season. The College of Holy Cross is a small, private, catholic school that is very well regarded and quite desirable to attend. The school is one of many colleges across the city of Worcester, which is the second largest in the state with a population around 200,000. Thus, Wormtown is much more city (and a rather generic one to visit) than college town. The Crusaders have a historic football program that dates back to the late 1800s. As an independent, they had spurts of success, including being ranked a few times in the AP Poll and an Orange Bowl appearance in 1945. In 1981, the team dropped to the I-AA (FCS) level and while they became very good in the late 80s, they weren’t allowed to play in the postseason because of uppity stupid rules from their conference, the Colonial League. While the Ivy League still adheres to this ridiculously antiquated set-up, the Colonial (now known as the Patriot League) later changed their rules later in the 90s. Holy Cross since has been to the postseason four times as conference champions. They’ve really been good of late as they’ve won the Patriot each of the last three seasons, earned their first FCS Playoff victory last year and they entered this game I went to at 8-0. Their home stadium is Fitton Field, a place where they first started playing football in 1908 and the steel structure evolved to it’s current form in 1924.
Prestige Ranking: 3 out of 5


As mentioned, there is little to do from a visitor standpoint as Worcester’s “attractions” include an Art Museum and fairly typical things seen in mid-sized cities. Not much interested me, though I wouldn’t have minded checking out the city’s small History Museum. Downtown is a 5-minute drive away as Holy Cross is a bit south of the city, within the College Hill neighborhood. That name is no joke as you certainly are up on a hill. Campus is beautiful and Holy Cross is small enough that you can make a pleasant walk through it in a short time with aesthetically pleasing visuals all around. Just have strong legs as there undoubtedly will be some uphill walking. The stadium is situated on the far north side of campus, next to the baseball field and in front of I-290.
Location Ranking: 4.5 out of 10

Accessibility / Parking

The main interstate through Massachusetts is I-90 (the Mass Pike) and a branch of that goes off into Worcester. It’s a quick and easy drive once you get onto I-290 as Exit 12 goes right to campus. Be ready for rapidly getting in the far right lane however. Around the bend and you are on College Street, with the first parking area on the right. It is not a great set-up as this grassy field is used and if the weather is wet, Holy Cross may close it off. There’s also a risk it gets full and if that is the case, chances are that other general parking is no longer open too (the parking garage across from the stadium and Freshman Field on the other side). Season pass holders park and tailgate on the baseball field. The school does seem good about keeping fans up-to-date on the situation through social media. Regardless, other options are not ideal as you may need to park on the other side of campus near the arena up the hill…or worst case, go to a satellite lot and get bussed over. I suggest getting there early. I was ok using the West Lot and outside of a narrow uphill exit, I was surprised at the ease in getting back onto College Street after the game and then the quick arrival onto I-290.
Accessibility / Parking Ranking: 5.5 out of 8


After enjoying a great walk through the beautiful campus, I came to Fitton Field and said “ewww”. An ugly steel structure is the visual upon arrival as there is nothing but a maze of support beams making up the exterior of the stadium. The only variation is the equally unappealing brown siding of the press box at the top. There’s one look at the outside and that’s from the south end. The ticket booth is located at the baseball field and the entrance to Fitton Field is in the outside corner.
Exterior Ranking: 1 out of 10


Fans walk under the erector set and tiny bathroom buildings are tucked inside the area as well. A couple boxed structures are able to only sell drinks as food stands are non-existent with food trucks being relied upon. Three sides of the stadium have this “concourse” underneath the stadium stands and to reach the seats, a set of stairs is needed. On the open end of the stadium, there is a paved walkway behind the end zone.
Concourse Ranking: 1 out of 5


Food trucks are located in two areas near the home stands that seem separate from the stadium grounds, but are still within the confines. There were 7 different trucks on this day and I liked the options better than the usual stadium dreck offered. However, if you were craving a Cheeseburger, Popcorn or a slice of Pizza, you were out of luck. Tex-Mex was the most filling option for a lunch and calling it filling is a stretch. Beer, Wine and Seltzer were all available and that is a good thing. Worcester-based Greater Good Imperial Brewing featured two of their brews available.
Food Ranking: 5 out of 8


Fitton Field has a horseshoe design with a couple corner sections that diagonally point towards the field. The open end zone butts up to the outfield of the adjacent ballpark. The seating bowl has a lot of rows and there really isn’t a bad sightline from anywhere as height is good and with so many seats per section, you easily can pick a decent spot. Proximity to the field is probably better than any other Patriot League stadium. Another plus is the spacing between each row as leg room is adequate and you can even sit back against a bleacher back a row if you have a little flexibility. Seats are all aluminum bleacher and the base is in the same material. The stadium height shrinks in the northeast corner and then rises a little more for the visitors sideline, while being compressed with I-290 running so close behind it. A press box exists above both ends. Perhaps the best feature of this generally simple stadium is the background. If you sit on the home side, the downhill look includes both trees (often with changing color) and a peek at downtown Worcester. When the sun is not out, the Visitors side offers the better background as the stately campus buildings are perched up on the hill.
Interior Ranking: 7.5 out of 14


The scoreboard sits near the ground in the open end zone and even though you have to look down on it, it is an excellent board. The rectangular screen is very high-def and I had no problem seeing the ball. Live game video is played and replay frequency is solid. A static display at the bottom includes vital game information and as an added bonus, side panels have a rotating sequence of stats. The top of the scoreboard has a nice “Fitton Field” display. The only thing preventing a perfect ranking is that the other side of the stadium has nothing, not even a game clock.
Scoreboard Ranking: 3.5 out of 4


Displays come from inside the stadium and they at least are inclusive of most team and individual accomplishments. The wall behind one end zone includes years for each Patriot League Championship, NCAA Tournament Appearance and Undefeated Season. Up on the siding behind the Visitor’s stands is the school’s Ring of Honor. Each white and purple banner includes the name and number of a player honored. Finally, I have to give a nod to the nostalgic charm of the simple “College of the Holy Cross” sign on top of the Press Box. I don’t know why, but it made me smile.
Displays Ranking: 2.5 out of 6


Tickets are a pretty good deal as the lowest price point is tied for the cheapest in the league. Buying in advance gets you in for $10 and though there are $15 and $20 options, buying the General Admission seat is all you need. Prices do go up $5 on the day of the game. For parking, that gets more expensive than expected as you are looking at $10 for a grass lot. Food trucks as well feature high prices and I was quite disappointed that my 4 semi-filling quesadillas (see above) cost $12.
Cost Ranking: 7 out of 8

Fan Support

Holy Cross is the class of the Patriot League in this regard as they have certainly taken over Lehigh when it comes to attendance, especially as the team has become really good. Homecoming and Family Weekend feature the largest draws as attendance can reach 10,000+. Note that it’s hard for Holy Cross to look like they have a packed house given that the stadium is so big. Now within the confines of the NCAA, I’d put them in the middle-tier of FCS fan support. Five-year attendance rankings from 2015-2019 placed Holy Cross at #59. When the Crusaders hosted a playoff game in 2021, their attendance of 4,125 ranked 2nd out of the 8 teams hosting that weekend. The game I saw wasn’t one of the big two themed days and it brought what I estimated as 7,000 people. Decent, but a little disappointing given that the team was 8-0 and the weather was great. I also couldn’t believe the fan apathy from the tailgating lot as most stayed there the entire game, never coming into the stadium. There are things that counter each other as you have a small school, in a relatively large population center (Worcester ranks #58 in the country), yet you are fighting Boston Pro Sports and an FBS program (BC) an hour away.
Fan Support Ranking: 5 out of 8


After watching extended highlights from Holy Cross’ previous game against Fordham on Family Weekend, I was expecting good things as that crowd was into it from the start with loud roars, arms raised for scores and lots of people on their feet (and that was before the thrilling overtime). I’ve probably never been so disappointed in a crowd than this one as they were collectively a dud. The team is 8-0 and about to clinch a League Title and you would think this was a bunch of neutrals watching. There was mild excitement and applause when the team came out and for the first touchdown, most just gave a polite applause with a good chunk of people not even clapping. The crowd barely acknowledged a key flag that got picked up later in the quarter leading to a 1st Down instead of 4th Down. Now things did get a little better as the game went on with some noise being generated when the defense typically needs it. The PA guy was certainly jacked up, he just was the only one. Outside of him, the background noise was highway traffic and music from the adjacent tailgate. I don’t know if the crowd “played down” to their 1-7 opponent, but this experience was far different from when the Alums and Student Families were in town. Hard to rank this category as a result because my experience was a 4 and the one the week before looked like a 10…so we’ll go in the middle.
Atmosphere Ranking: 7 out of 14

Other Stuff

The Marching Band is a small one and they played on occasion, including halftime. Known as “The Goodtime Marching Band”, stick around for the Alma Mater because it is played to the theme of “O Christmas Tree”. Not what you’d expect to hear at a football game…..There are no lights at Fitton Field…..The Stadium is named after Father James Fitton, who donated the land to the school…..During the first half of the 20th Century, the rivalry with Boston College was one of the biggest games on the East Coast. That of course faded, but the teams have started playing again with contests in 2018 and 2023…..I never know if it’s acceptable to refer to them as “The Cross” or ‘Saders.


Holy Cross came into this game ranked #5 in the country and undefeated with a chance to win the Patriot League title. They literally ran with the opportunity as the Crusaders had 338 yards on the ground. QB Matthew Sluka led the way with 16 carries for 146, while also throwing for a score. A couple times in the middle quarters, the Mountain Hawks got within a possession, but HC answered quickly right after.

Stadium Experience Ranking: 52.5 out of 100

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