Work not over for football champions

Albion College football (7-2, 5-0) had already gone undefeated at home, and on Saturday they came closer to their ultimate goal of clinching a share of the MIAA Championship. The Britons defeated the Adrian Bulldogs (6-4, 3-3) by a score of 13-0.

It is the second championship in three years for the Britons, and the sixth for Head Coach Craig Rundle, now in his 17th season with Albion.

For three quarters the game remained close, with two field goals by Cody Lehman, Clawson junior, giving the Britons a narrow six-point lead. The defense remained resilient as well.  Defensive Tackle Dillon Ervin, Ortonville junior, made 13 tackles, including 2 sacks, and was awarded MIAA Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

The breakthrough finally came during the fourth quarter in a drive that took only 43 seconds. A 29-yard pass on the drive’s opening play put the Britons on the Adrian 48. Two plays later, Darrin Williams, Detroit senior, ran 47 yards for the touchdown. Shutdown defense for the rest of the quarter, including a stop on fourth and five at Albion’s own six yard line, sealed the victory.

The Britons have now won five straight conference games after closing their non-conference season with a loss to Central College, IA. Three of those games, as well as their previous two victories, have come in the friendly confines of Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium, where they have went undefeated.

“We’re getting good crowds, and I think people are into the games and guys look forward to playing at home,” Rundle said. “I think the way people have supported us has been a key to our success at home.”

Britons players agree. “The home field advantage definitely is a huge plus,” Williams said. “I think winning at home teaches us how to win on the road.”

While Albion clearly had the talent necessary to take care of business against Adrian, the Purple and Gold faithful made sure there was help on hand when they took on the Bulldogs.

“The crowd at Adrian was awesome,” Lehman said. “It didn’t even feel like we were playing on the road. Our crowd made it feel like a home game for us.”

The season is not quite over yet, and Albion controls its own destiny. The Brits visit the MIAA’s only one-loss team, Hope (7-2, 4-1) this Saturday. A Hope win would award the Flying Dutchmen a share of the championship, while an Albion victory allows them to claim the title uncontested.

Though the Britons have already clinched their championship share, they are not letting their guard down.

“We don’t want to share the title,” Lehman said. “We know what we have to do in order for us to finish what we set out to do in the beginning of the season.”

Rundle hopes their work ethic is rewarded with a solo championship this Saturday at Hope’s Smith Stadium.

“They’ve got good work ethic, and we haven’t had to get on them all year about preparation,” Rundle said. “They want to play hard, and they want to get better.”

Photo courtesy Albion College

About Jay Winkler 30 Articles
Jay Winkler is a 5th-year Political Science major from Royal Oak, MI. He writes sports because if he wasn't he'd be thinking about sports anyways.

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