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December 11, 2013

OU club football team ends inaugural season with winning record

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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OU club football team ends inaugural season with winning record
Oakland University club football coach Al Manfroni is pictured speaking with his team prior to the Grizzlies’ first-ever home game Oct. 5. Oakland went 5-2 in its inaugural season.

In almost any year, ending a campaign with an overall record of 5-2 may count as having had a pretty solid season.

But for the club football team from Oakland University, ending the season having won five of its seven games could have even more significance than it would in an average year.

The Grizzlies’ 5-2 record came in their debut season in the National Club Football Association (NCFA), and getting off to that kind of start could go a long way toward helping to gain support and attention for a program some thought would never exist in the first place, much less experience success so early.

Club president David Brosky started the process of bringing a club football team to Oakland after deciding he wanted to continue to play the sport after graduating from Macomb Lutheran North. And while the idea of having a football team at Oakland may have excited him, even Brosky didn’t know how well things would go in the first year of the program’s existence.

“It was really awesome to see that we could compete — even (in) our first year — with some of the best teams in this league we’re in,” he said. “ The Great Lakes (Conference) is separated into two sides; we’re the east side. The east side had the national runner-up from last year, Miami (Ohio); Ohio State, who was top-five last year; and Michigan-Flint, who was top-10 last year. It’s one of the toughest conferences. Fact that we (competed) with them, and we actually beat a couple of them, really shows how serious this organization is.

“We’re here to prove something but also at the same time, have fun. It’s really awesome. I think it shocked a lot of people, including ourselves.”

The positive reaction the Grizzlies received in their inaugural season didn’t exactly go unnoticed by Brosky, who also played wide receiver and safety for the team.

“Pretty much every game, I (kind of) looked around and said, ‘Wow, this is what this has become,’” he said. “This is only the first season, and this is what this has become. It was awesome seeing the people supporting, and the people out there. It’s been incredible. I’m really excited to see this program move forward and to gain even more interest.”

Things have gone so well for the Grizzlies, whose players paid approximately $850 to play on the club team, that it may have created some other issues as the program moves forward.

“Not looking too far ahead, but we considered try-outs (for next year),” he said. “We have to have a 60-man roster, and with some of the interest we’ve already generated from people that are coming here next year, and from people that were interested last year but didn’t have the money to play, that might be an issue.

“We might have almost too many players. We’re starting to think about the possibility of there being too many guys to be on the actual roster. We’re interested to see.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.