The Albion College football team concluded the 2023 regular season on Nov. 11 against Alma College.
The Britons walked into the rivalry matchup already having had two conference losses. The first came on Oct. 7 against Hope College where Albion lost 14-6 during a low-scoring affair.
The second loss was given two weeks later to the Britons on Oct. 21 against Trine University. The final score was 35-28, causing Albion to lose its first home game during the regular season since Oct. 5, 2019.
Historically speaking, having two losses in the MIAA Conference doesn’t allow a team to take the next step into the playoffs. Having a 1-2 conference record, Albion’s road to the postseason was already likely blocked off.
Albion continued to play through the loss, taking care of business against the remaining matchups leading up to Alma. The Britons beat Adrian College on Oct. 28, winning 34-21, and Olivet College, winning 35-7.
Alma College traveled to Albion without a loss, meaning a win would secure the MIAA Championship for the second year in a row. Though, Albion had no championship aspirations and no chance to see another week of the season. Essentially, the Britons were playing for pride as well as for the departure of 33 seniors.
The game was one-sided, with the Scots successfully defending the MIAA title and becoming champions of the conference once more. With the final score being 50-14, the loss officially brought the first year of the Travis Rundle era to a close with Albion finishing 7-3 overall.
Despite the season ending this way, there were plenty of individual accomplishments on both sides of scrimmage.
Grosse Pointe Farms senior and defensive lineman Nick Fannon capped off his collegiate career with the MIAA Defensive MVP Award.
Five players individually made All-MIAA First Team. The group included Fannon, senior wide receiver Kye Bristow from East Lansing, first-year punter Chris Bowman from Waterford, sophomore Alex Olenik from Pinckney and senior defensive back Larry Platt from Waterford.
Senior defensive lineman Eddie Hines from Grand Rapids, junior quarterback Luke Lovell from Pinckney, tight end Nick Christian from Chelsea and senior return specialist James Bloomfield from Jackson made the All-MIAA Second Team.
Head Coach Travis Rundle said there was a lack of experience at key positions, which contributed to the journey Albion had to endure during the course of the season.
“We had a large number of players starting for the first time,” Rundle said. “Whether they were seniors and first time starters, it was good to see a lot of guys take advantage of the opportunity, and it allows us to look at big things moving forward because of it.”
Rundle said that winning the MIAA title is a long-term goal, and that in order to reach those aspirations, Albion has to build upon the little things.
We want to be the best at executing all the little things in the nation next year,” Rundle said. “That’s kind of our goal, no team is going to execute the small things better than us.”
In past seasons, there has been very little room for error when trying to make a postseason run coming from the MIAA Conference. Rundle noted that it’s essential to treat every opponent with the same energy.
“The MIAA has been a one-bid league in the playoffs,” Rundle said. “We’re focusing on what we got to do each day to really get to that point. You have to take care of business each day.”
Rundle said he has already had conversations with every single player on the team and has discovered a trend in feedback.
“Nobody was kind of pointing at any external things. They’re like, ‘This is what I need to do to get better,’” Rundle said. “The guys are looking forward to working consistently through the offseason.”
According to Rundle, after the ups and downs from the 2023 season, the Albion College football team is ready to build upon a learning experience and are ready to switch the script for 2024.