Since the dawn of my being, I’ve watched the Detroit Lions tear themselves apart in some of the most hilarious ways possible.
The Lions found ways to lose.
The Ferris football team this season found ways to win.
Going into their home playoff game (a 46-33 loss) against Ohio Dominican, there was little thought that Ferris would find a way to lose.
There was a bevy of experience on this 2014 football team, but there was also an influx of youth that the Ohio Dominican Panthers sought to expose.
The Bulldogs gave up 462 passing yards through the air and four touchdowns in this playoff game.
It wasn’t because of one man. The Bulldogs have plenty of talent, though young in spots, in the defensive secondary.
Late in the fourth quarter and down a score, the Bulldog defense had held off the Panthers and forced a fourth down and 11 on the Ferris 43 yard line.
When the Bulldogs had a chance to return the ball, they took a truly costly penalty.
Though multiple Bulldogs were in on the play, sophomore defensive tackle Torrey Appel was called for roughing the kicker, which automatically gives the kicking team a new set of downs and 15 yards.
The Panthers scored on the drive to salt the game away.
Ferris hadn’t seen the NCAA playoffs in 18 seasons. At the time, Jason Vander Laan was four years old.
It takes pain and painful experiences over a period of time to build a winning tradition. Had this team won the NCAA title this season, it would have been borderline miraculous. They had plenty of talent, but the experience of going through the fire is necessary.
There are exceptions to that rule. The Lions often go through painful experiences and don’t get any better (Or so it seems).
The fact that this Ferris team has improved it’s record in large increments over the last three years should be a sign that next year is not a rebuilding year.
This team means business. Come and see it next August.