Club Football falls in season opener at Lawrence Tech

Golden Grizzlies took the field against the Lawrence Tech University (LTU) Blue Devils in their season opener on Saturday, Sept. 1. Going into the game, the Golden Grizzlies were small favorites to beat LTU, even though LTU had the home field advantage and were playing their first football game in over 30 years. However, the odds did not go in the Golden Grizzlies’ favor as they lost 57-14 to the Blue Devils.

In the first quarter, each team’s defense could not catch a break, as both Oakland and LTU scored on their first two possessions on offense. At the end of the first quarter, it was a tie game at 14-14. By the start of the second quarter, things went downhill fast for Oakland University especially on defense. Known for their dominant defense, the Golden Grizzlies could not stop LTU’s offense, as they scored on every offensive possession.

Senior linebacker and lead team captain, Bobby Saad, led both teams in tackles with 12 tackles (4 solo, 8 assisted), but it was not enough to stop the dominant pass game for the Blue Devils.

Senior safety Nate Emery, who collected three solo tackles and one pass breakup in the game, believes although it wasn’t the best performance the club performed there were just as many positives as there were negatives.

“I wouldn’t call it a rough game, there were positives to build on and negatives to correct,” he said. “We just didn’t execute all four quarters. We will meet in the film room on Tuesday and get back to work. We are going to forget about this loss and get ready for the next game.”

On the offensive side of the ball, junior quarterback and team captain Ben Hajciar, was one of the few bright spots for the team during the game, completing 11-21 of his passes for 59 yards with two touchdown passes, and he also ran the ball eight times for 52 yards.

While the rest of the offense struggled to make plays, Hajciar did what he could for his team, making plays with both his arm and his feet. Hajciar said that LTU was definitely the toughest team he had ever played against as quarterback of the Golden Grizzlies.

“That was the toughest opponent that not only I ever played against, but the whole club has played against,” he said. “This was a non-conference game against an NAIA school that has millions of dollars funded to them, meaning that they can recruit players all across the country, which is something we do not have the luxury of having. We stuck around with them for the entire first quarter, which I am sure they were not expecting us to do.”

During the entire 2017 season, the Golden Grizzly defense only allowed 26 points scored on them. The Blue Devils scored 35 points in the first half, more points in the first half than every team OU played last season combined. The Blue Devils’ 57 points as the final score is the most points the team has ever allowed in a single game.

“There is no excuses for a loss,” Emery said. “Regardless of the fact we only have 35 players, we gotta place our personal in the right position and condition ourselves to fulfill our assignments every play.”

Even though the game did not go the way the team and the fans had hoped it would, the season is far from over for this football team. The remaining schedule is against teams the Golden Grizzlies have not lost to in over three years. This team could win the remainder of their games and go to the playoffs for the third straight season while making another run for the National Club Football Association national title.

The team’s next game is at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15 against Wright State University at Oakland.