It was a forbidden word, Widener was. One which Ralphie's mom from A Christmas Story would gladly wash out of your mouth with soap.
There was way too much time between the present and a much-anticipated game with the Pride to even begin talking about it. Besides, there was still more work to do to make the Oct. 20 game relevant.
But once the work was done, once Lycoming navigated a gauntlet of a four-game stretch to start the season, and once the Warriors disposed of two teams in King's and FDU-Florham they were heavy favorites against, well then that's another story.
And following last week's 42-7 win over the Devils in Madison, N.J., Widener was no longer a four-letter word. There was no fear of bars of soap. Instead there was a sigh of relief. The Warriors could openly discuss their pending matchup with the Pride, a matchup of the lone two unbeaten teams in Middle Atlantic Conference play.
"I think everyone knows there's been a big elephant in the room," Lycoming head coach Mike Clark said after the win over FDU-Florham last week.
We can now at least acknowledge the elephant instead of pretending like its not destroying your favorite chair in the corner. This game on Saturday at David Person Field is all set up to be a special game. The winner is the front-runner to win a MAC title and gain the league's automatic berth
The preparation began last week for the Warriors during their bye week. The coaching staff gave the players an extra couple of days off this weekend to heal up and just get a break. But with maybe the Warriors' biggest game of the season looming, there was no slacking off in the preparation.
But the avoidance of the word Widener went so far that in the week leading up to the FDU-Florham game a week ago, Mike Clark said - with a smile, of course - that he wasn't sure who the Warriors played next.
"We've all kind of been looking at it the last couple weeks. It's hard not to," Lycoming receiver Jarrin Campman said after scoring three touchdowns against FDU-Florham. "You have to take care of the team in front of you, but we've all been kind of looking at Widener."
"I think everybody has been trying to push it to the back of their minds, but this has been lingering now for a couple weeks," Lycoming quarterback Tyler Jenny said. "It'll be nice to get into the bye week at 5-0 in the MAC and then start to prepare for a game that is a big game in the MAC."
The game has been on the radar of the Warriors since picking up consecutive wins over Delaware Valley, Lebanon Valley and Albright in Weeks 2, 3 and 4. Those three wins came against three of the top 5 teams in the MAC. And at the end of that three-game stretch, Lycoming could see some daylight against struggling programs in King's and FDU-Florham.
But Clark has never let his team look ahead. Ever since a Week 1 loss to Brockport State, he's preached a mantra of making sure every Saturday at 4:30 p.m. that the Warriors are 1-0. It's a mantra his team grabbed on to in order to get through the brutal stretch of three opening games in the MAC. It's the same mantra they grasped to in order to keep from looking past games with King's and FDU-Florham. And it's the same mantra Clark is sure to preach this week leading up to the game with Widener.
Because, after all, it's going to take four more wins to claim a MAC title.
"This is the kind of game you want to play," Jenny said. "Everybody is going to be excited."
There's so much surrounding this game to talk about. First it's the obvious contrasting styles of a Lycoming team which wins with a stout running game and a suffocating defense that hasn't given up more than two touchdowns to a conference opponent this year, and a Widener team that has been held under 60 points just twice in six games this year and even scored 90 in a game against Wilkes.
You add in the significance of the game and what is resting on its outcome and that should be enough. But the dedication of a bust of legendary Warriors football coach Frank Girardi prior to the game near the entrance of the Shangraw Athletic Complex only adds to the pageantry of what should be a great fall afternoon in Williamsport.
And now, feel free to talk about it.
Mitch Rupert covers Lycoming College football for the Sun-Gazette. He can be reached at 326-1551, ext. 3129, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Mitch_Rupert.