ROCHESTER HILLS — For the fourth time in its seventh year of competition, Oakland University’s club football team ended its season in the National Club Football Association national championship game.
Unfortunately for the Golden Grizzlies, their 2019 season concluded with a 36-9 loss to Ohio State University’s club team Dec. 7 in West Virginia.
Oakland finished at 8-2 in the NCFA, with both of its losses coming against Ohio State.
“All in all, we had a wonderful season,” said Oakland coach Chuck Saad. “It’s a disappointment at Oakland if you don’t win the national championship, but we had a great season — very successful. We accomplished almost everything we wanted to accomplish.”
Oakland faculty adviser Nic Bongers described the program’s season as bittersweet. Although he wanted Oakland to come away with a third national championship for the program, Bongers was able to reflect positively on what was accomplished.
“We got our 50th win as a program, so our overall record currently is 51 wins and nine losses,” Bongers said. “That’s a huge milestone.”
Despite being the No. 2 team in the NCFA, Bongers said, “We have a lot to work on for next season.”
One of the issues Bongers would like to deal with is numbers. Although the NCFA allows 50 players on a roster, he said Oakland had less than 30 the last game of the season.
A larger roster could help reduce the number of players who play both offense and defense, and that would suit Bongers just fine. He said, “More depth will bring in more quality and a bigger gas tank, so we can finish these games.
“To fix (the) on-the-field issues, we have to start now off the field with recruiting,” Bongers said.
The success Oakland has had could help make the recruiting process a lot easier.
“We got guys that are willing to work hard and commit to this program, because I think that we have a very certifiable brand, given our history and our level of success,” Bongers said. “And for somebody to continue playing football at this level, being a part of a program like us, I think should be very alluring to a high school football player that might not have thought that playing at the next level was even a possibility.”
Along with continuing to accumulate wins, Bongers would also like to make Oakland game days more of an experience for students, alumni and community members.
“There’s a lot (of) potential for us to be a beacon of college football in Oakland County,” he said. “A lot (of) people don’t know about us yet. There’s potential to make a college football game day experience at Oakland University just with what we are.”