Club Football makes history

September 16, 2017 is a day that will go down in history at Oakland University. The Oakland University Club Football team finally played its first-ever home opener on the university’s campus against the semi-pro Michigan Patriots. Needless to say, the stands were packed with the students and alumni who have been waiting for this moment for years.

The build up to this game was full of excitement. The team’s Facebook page was full of announcements and reminders, with fans of all ages leaving comments of support and excitement. Fans even began to fill the stands an hour before the game got started.

“This is a bunch of people who like football can finally get together at Oakland, as one family to get to watch a great sport,” said Ian Tyler a junior at Oakland.

Before the game, the team designated an area that was meant for tailgating and pregame partying. The fans were cheering and children were chanting as they anxiously awaited the first whistle blow of the game. As the fans packed the bleachers at the new upper fields outdoor track and football field, one Golden Grizzly alumna began to reminisce on when she attended the university and how much it has changed.

“I remember when this was just a field,” Ann Lowney (Serra) said. “This is really beautiful. This is really amazing the change.”

During her time here, Lowney played on the women’s basketball team. She wore the uniform when the team was still Division II and not yet part of the Horizon League.

The history-making game began at 7:01 p.m., after the team captains walked out arm in arm for the first official coin toss. Fans sat at the edge of their seats and watched.

“I like that now we are starting to grow,” senior Kyra Hickombottom said. “Now that we’ve been approved to have home games on campus, that’s just another step closer to getting another team.”

As the first quarter went on, the Golden Grizzlies defense kept the Patriots from entering the end zone. In the first quarter, the Patriots were unable to even get past the 50-yard line. Furthermore, it was not until the second half of the game that the Patriots were able to score a touchdown.

By the end of the second quarter, the score was 28-0 with Oakland in the lead.

When half time hit, two other club teams took the field in support of their fellow club team. The Oakland University Winter Guard took to the field to perform a routine to Imagine Dragons’ latest hit “Believer.” After they finished, the ladies of Vitality Dance came out and showcased some of their best moves in a routine that was well-received by the crowd.

At the start of the third quarter, number 42 William Fetterhoff III, turned to the stands and motioned for the Golden Grizzlies fans to get on their feet and cheer as loud as they possibly could. Much like the Detroit Lions’ fans are notorious for being loud, the Oakland fans enthusiastically answered Fetterhoff’s call.

During the beginning of the fourth quarter, Bobby Saad of the Golden Grizzlies ran a touchdown from the 30-yard line. As he began to celebrate the accomplishment, a fight broke out at the end zone that cleared the players and coaches from both sides. However, even as the fight calmed, it took a while for the hysteria from the players, coaches and fans to settle down.

When everything finally calmed, the players instantly went back into game mode.

The final score of the game was 48-14. With the Golden Grizzlies coming out on top. As the final seconds ran down on the clock, both teams lined up at the 50-yard line to shake hands.

Afterwards, both teams met on the Grizz head painted on the field, joined hands and head coach Tom Menas lead them in a celebratory prayer.

“It’s always hard when asked who helps and who’s been there with you fighting your fight as long as we have,” Menas said. “Gabby (Sokol) has been fantastic and not always appreciated. This is evidence. This is her work tonight, we’re just the entertainment. We’ve got a lot of improvements to make before the year gets started for us next week against Michigan State. So, hopefully we’ll do it.”

The next chance to catch the Golden Grizzlies play on home turf is on Oct. 14 at noon, as a part of Oakland’s homecoming weekend.