Oakland University club football earns another trip to playoffs

 After making a catch, Oakland University club football tight end Bobby Saad ran in for a score during a game against the club team from Michigan State University Oct. 28 at home. With a win against the Spartans, Oakland qualified for the National Club Football Association playoffs.

After making a catch, Oakland University club football tight end Bobby Saad ran in for a score during a game against the club team from Michigan State University Oct. 28 at home. With a win against the Spartans, Oakland qualified for the National Club Football Association playoffs.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


By: Mark Vest | Rochester Post | Published November 6, 2017

 The Oakland University offense lines up across from Michigan State Oct. 28 at home. According to club adviser Nic Bongers, Oakland has outscored its opponents 322-38 in National Club Football Association games this season.

The Oakland University offense lines up across from Michigan State Oct. 28 at home. According to club adviser Nic Bongers, Oakland has outscored its opponents 322-38 in National Club Football Association games this season.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

It’s a long list of accomplishments for the Oakland University club football team.

The Golden Grizzlies have won 22 straight games, which is a National Club Football Association record, with their last loss coming in 2015.

The program is also the defending national champion and has won the title two of the past three seasons. 

After beating Michigan State University’s club team 32-12 to finish the regular season at 7-0, the Grizzlies are headed back to the playoffs and looking to defend. 

“I’m proud of the boys,” coach Tom Menas said. “They got us here. I’m glad to be part of the ride.”

Although making it to the playoffs is nothing new for defensive end James Bartsch, the accomplishment hasn’t lost its appeal.

“It’s very special,” Bartsch said. “This is my fourth year with the team, third year making it in the playoffs. (It) means a lot for us.”

Quarterback Ben Hajciar is in his second season with Oakland.

“It’s really special to see the records we’ve been breaking — longest (winning) streak in club football history,” Hajciar said. “We’re excited for what’s next.”

Oakland is used to success on the field, but playing on campus this season has made it a special run.

Prior to this year, the Grizzlies played at Auburn Hills Civic Center Park.

It was a special experience for Menas to be a part of Oakland’s first home game on campus

“It was hundreds of hours of getting it to that point,” Menas said. “We wanted to give the students at OU a football team. When we were playing across the street, we were their team, but there was a disconnect. As soon as we started playing on campus, we gave ownership of our football team to the students and the school. … It was awesome.”

Oakland’s ranking as the No. 1 team in the NCFA is a position that club adviser Nic Bongers thinks the program has held since October of last year, and according to him, in NCFA games this season, the Golden Grizzlies have outscored their opponents 322-38.

“Our football program has never been better than it is today,” Menas said. “(We’re) still ranked No. 1 in the country. … We’re playing at home; we continued our agreement with Adidas; we’ve got great uniforms; we’ve got things that help the kids feel good about the program. … We are the benchmark of what a team’s supposed to be.”

Oakland hosts either the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee or Robert Morris University-Peoria in the Great Lakes Conference Championship at 1 p.m. Nov. 11 at the Recreation and Athletic Outdoor Complex.

There is no charge for admission.