Eighth heaven

Bulldogs stand at 8-0

James Wimberly stretches for a tackle against Ohio Dominican.
James Wimberly stretches for a tackle against Ohio Dominican. Photo Courtesy of Kevin T. McDermott
The Ferris State Bulldogs toppled the Huskies of Michigan Tech, who were formerly the only other undefeated team in the conference, 37-3.

This one-sided victory not only keeps the Bulldogs on the road to a perfect season, but also has major implications for the conference standings. The Dawgs now stand alone atop the conference, with their toughest competition in the rearview mirror.

Now the Bulldogs will return home to take on a floundering Lake Erie team that currently stands at 4-4 on the season. With the Bulldogs toughest competition now behind them, excitement is continuing to build around the campus and city. However, this hysteria is not mirrored among the team, who refuses to let the hype distract them.

“We don’t have to tell people to not get caught up with it and I think that just comes from the maturity we’ve had over the last couple of years. We’re not getting too carried away with any success that we’re having and we’re staying focused, so it’s not really a problem for us right now,” junior quarterback Jason Vander Laan said.

The Bulldogs have also refused to look past any opponent, regardless of what that team’s record may indicate about them.

“We take one team at a time and we never overlook anyone. We’ve played some great teams and some tough games and we just feel like the only team that can beat us is ourselves,” senior wide receiver Jake Lampman said.

While Lampman did suffer an injury earlier in the season, he has worked to stay active as a contributing member of the team, even if his impact can’t be made through his play on the field.

“I am there for moral support and for guys that are down on themselves. The main thing I told coach is that I want it to feel the same everyday with the only difference being that I can’t be on the field,” Lampman said. “I know that God has a bigger plan for me and that my team doesn’t want to be around a person that has self-pity. It brings a team down. So I just like to stay positive because I love this team and I love what we’ve been able to do.”

Lampman’s determination to continue to contribute is the rule rather than the exception on this team, as the Dawgs have displayed an inspiring amount of tenacity, which they’ll hope to continue throughout the rest of the season.

“We’ve got the toughest resolve of any team in the nation. D-1, D-2, D-3, I don’t care. No one has prepared and worked the way that we’ve worked and then shown it on the field for seven straight weeks,” Head Coach Tony Annese said.

The Bulldogs have three games left in the regular season, all of which are against conference opponents lacking winning records.

If the Bulldogs can stay focused and win out, then they will solidify their GLIAC Conference Championship and Ferris football will finish the season undefeated for the first time since 1968.

The last three teams Ferris plays are bottom dwelling teams in the GLIAC.

Northern Michigan is 2-6 overall and last in the GLIAC North division. Walsh is 2-6 as well and last in the GLIAC South division, and Lake Erie is in second to last at 4-4 in the GLIAC South.

Overall, the 8-0 Bulldogs will finish the season against teams that have a combined record of 8-16 this season.

The one test for Ferris will be stopping Lake Erie’s phenomenal running back, Anthony Bilal.

Bilal is the national leader in Division II in rushing yards with 1,483 and rushing touchdowns with 22.

Bilal has had a heavy load, and has carried the ball 168 times which is good for second in the nation in that regard.

The Bulldogs kickoff is scheduled for noon on Saturday, November 1 against the Lake Erie Storm.