After starting the season with back-to-back road wins against Carthage College and Bluffton University, the Albion College football team played their first two home games of the season in weeks three and four.
On Sept. 16, Head Coach Travis Rundle and the Britons stepped onto the turf of the Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium for the first time this season against the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Fightin’ Engineers, winning the game 48-16 after a strong second-half performance.
The win was bittersweet for Rundle. It was the first time he was on the field since putting on the pads and helmet when he played here in 2002.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair. Sophomore receiver Devin Fridley-Bell from Caledonia exploded for a 69-yard punt return touchdown, but the Fightin’ Engineers responded by tying the game before the end of the first quarter. At one point, Rose-Hulman led 19-13 early in the second quarter, the first time Albion had trailed all season.
That would be the last time Rose-Hulman would score for the entire game.
The Briton defense forced an opening possession stop in the second half. On the next possession, Brandon Camfield, Wixom senior, linebacker and team captain, prevented a fourth and one conversion. This resulted in a turnover on downs. Albion continued to score, and the defense by the end of the game allowed only three conversions off of 18 third downs.
Junior quarterback Luke Lovell from Pinchney threw for 288 yards with a touchdown by the end of the game. Fifth-year running back Phillip Jones-Price from Reed City ran for 71 total yards for the game with a career-high three touchdowns for the Briton offense. Senior wide receiver Kye Bristow from East Lansing also had a day catching 92 yards off seven receptions.
Senior linebacker Camden Orlando from Macomb had a big game on the defensive side for Albion, generating 10 tackles.
Albion returned to the field on Sept. 23 to play the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The game was one-sided, as the Britons marched to a 30-7 win.
Lovell led the offense again with two touchdowns while throwing 244 yards under center. Bristow had a career-best performance, leading the receivers category with seven catches for 122 yards including two touchdowns.
Fridley-Bell hauled two punt returns, breaking for a 74-yard touchdown return in the first quarter.
Defensively, Albion nearly played perfect. Camfield led the team with nine tackles and senior lineman Nick Fannon from Grosse Pointe Farms had a standout performance with six tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble. The Pointers could not respond to Albion’s offensive beatdown until the fourth quarter.
Overall, the Britons won by large margins to close out an undefeated non-conference schedule, the fifth season in a row they’ve done it.
“Good seasons start with good beginnings. We played the first four non-conference games at a high level in all three areas of the game, offense, defense and special teams” Rundle said.
Rundle added that the team is ready for the homecoming game on Saturday, insisting that the players are built for matchups such as Kalamazoo.
“We are stressing each day the past isn’t predictive of the future and we need to continue to grow and develop as a team,” Rundle said. “The squad is excited to get out there on Saturday and perform at a level our opponent is unwilling to match for four quarters.”
Albion begins MIAA play on Sept. 30 against the Kalamazoo Hornets. The Britons look to continue their hot streak as the campus prepares for the homecoming weekend.