This past fall, the Albion College Football team claimed its second straight conference championship title. Albion earned the MIAA championship win after defeating Alma 34 – 7. The victory was Albion football’s second championship win of the 2021 year.
The title enabled the Brits to move into the NCAA tournament. This was an exciting experience for all of those involved in Albion’s football program.
“It’s fun knowing that you are a part of the top 32 schools in the nation. There is a lot of pride and accomplishment there,” said Justin Sweeney, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. “Being a part of it was really cool, especially since you’re doing things that so many other division three teams do not have the opportunity to do.”
Head Coach Dustin Beurer ’05 is proud of the growth that his players have experienced during their time at Albion.
“These guys have been working so hard during their career. I was a part of the staff when the fifth years came in as freshmen. Those guys went from 4 – 6 their freshman year to conference champs back-to-back,” said Beurer. “Watching their hard work pay off and for the team to get what they deserve was the most rewarding thing for me.”
Albion matched-up against Wisconsin-La Crosse in the first round of the playoffs. The Brits hosted the playoff game at home for the first time since 1998.
“Hosting the playoff game for the first time at home in 25 years was a highlight of the season for me,” said Sweeney.
Albion football fell to Wisconsin-La Crosse, 23 – 58. This was a tough loss for the team, according to Beurer.
“Playing at home was great for our guys, but I don’t think our guys were satisfied. You always remember the last game you play,” said Beurer. “I think it was good for our guys to see this is what it takes and now we know this is what an elite team looks like. I think that has stuck with our guys and has spring boarded how they have trained throughout the winter ”
Albion football finished its season with a 9 – 2 record.
Albion’s coaching staff intends to capitalize on what they learned from the fall 2021 season.
“From a defensive coordinator standpoint, I learned that we have really good players, we just need to make sure they always play fast,” said Sweeney. “It’s not really adding anything else to the plate. It’s more of let’s get really, really good at what we do, identify what we’re good at and then let’s do that better than how the offense can execute.”
The coaches are also working to create an environment where players never underestimate an opponent.
“This last fall we took that step as a program to become a team that is going to respect everyone and not take people lightly,” said Sweeney. “I think we learned that lesson as a team. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, from a mental standpoint we are going to respect all and fear none.”
They also want to remind players that this next season will be a new start.
“We tell our guys that this year’s team is different from last year’s team, so they have to start fresh,” said Beruer. “Everything you do from the time this last season ended to when next season starts is going to impact the results that we get. We want them to understand that just because you accomplished something in the past doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again.”
The team is currently in the spring ball portion of their season.
“Our guys have been lifting and running five days a week up until we started spring practice. They are still lifting three days a week while we practice,” said Beuer. “We thought that one of the biggest things we needed to do to improve was to get bigger and stronger.”