Following the two most successful seasons in Sam Houston football history, the Bearkats will return to their gridiron roots for the 2013 Orange-White Spring Game Thursday, April 18.

Since 1986, the annual Orange-White clash has been held at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium. This year the game will be held at Joseph Pritchett Field, the original home of Bearkat football.

Sam Houston and Rice played each university’s first football game at Pritchett on October 6, 1912.

“Everyone connected with Bearkat football is excited about playing back at Pritchett Field,” Sam Houston head coach Willie Fritz said. “Pritchett is where our traditions started and has been the scene of some great games. The setting will provide an amazing atmosphere for our annual spring game.”

Pritchett Field was the site for Bearkat football games until the opening of Bowers in 1986. The Bearkats won their last home game at Pritchett Field in 1985, beating Washburn University of Kansas, 51-7.

Since 2003, Pritchett Field has been the home site for Bearkat women’s soccer. A new artificial surface was unveiled last fall. Sam Houston stands undefeated in women’s soccer on the new turf.

The Orange-White game will kickoff at 7 p.m. and admission is free. The Bearkat Football Experience starts at 6 p.m. where youth, students and adults can take part in doing drills with the team.

“The past two years we’ve gotten great student crowds at the spring game and we hope the move to Pritchett will encourage even more fans to come out and see the game in a more intimate setting,” Fritz said. “The way our students and community have gotten behind our team has been a key to the university’s success the past two seasons.”

Sam Houston has won back-to-back Southland Conference championships, roaring through the playoffs both years to reach the NCAA Division I Football National Championship game in Frisco.

The 25-5 record during the 2011 and 2012 seasons represents the highest two-year victory total in the Bearkats’ 97 seasons of football. Sam Houston has been nationally ranked in NCAA Division I FCS football for 24 consecutive weeks, finishing No. 2 in the nation each of the last two seasons.

Fritz and his staff return 41 lettermen including 12 starters from last year's Bearkat football team that rolled up an 11-4 mark.

Returning first and second team All-Southland performers include quarterback Brian Bell, running back Timothy Flanders, wide receiver/wildkat back Richard Sincere, defensive tackle Gary Lorance and cornerback Bookie Sneed. Honorable mention All-Southland honorees returning include running back Keshawn Hill, defensive end Jarrett Brown and offensive guard Donald Jackson III.

The Bearkats have 10 spring practice sessions remaining at Bowers Stadium leading up to the Orange-White game:

March: 20 (Wed.), 22 (Fri.), 23 (Sat.), 25 (Mon.), 27 (Wed.), 29 (Fri.)
April: 1 (Mon.), 3 (Wed.), 5 (Fri.), 6 (Sat.), 8 (Mon.), 9 (Tue), 15 (Mon.), 17 (Wed)

Weekday practice sessions will begin at 3:30 p.m. Saturday practices will be held in the morning.