Alma College Football faced off against Olivet on Saturday Nov. 9. The team suffered a loss on the field but they secured a win through the honor they showed in this memorial game to a fallen veteran and football alumni.
Chris O’Connor was a 1985 graduate of Alma College and former member of the football team. O’Connor then joined the Marine Corps and in 1989 he passed away in a tragic helicopter training exercise in South Korea.
“Each and every day we honor Chris by doing so touching the victory bell, but Saturday was a day to inform others of Chris’ unselfishness and also honor all the other veterans who lived similar admirable traits as Chris. Alumni that knew Chris speak very highly of him. I think it is always important to remember and appreciate those that have come before us and many alumni have reached out to express their support of the Chris O’Connor Veteran’s Day Game,” said Head Football Coach Jason Couch.
The victory bell sits in the grass by the entrance into Bhalke Field. It is a memorial to Chris O’Connor and the bell is rung by a brother of his fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, every time the Scots score a touchdown.
“This game means so much because of the bond I share with my brothers from the military, football, and from the TKE household. It’s an honor to represent a man who was so well respected,” said Veteran, Football Player, and TKE Brother, Stephen White ‘22.
The Scots fell in a 28-13 game to the Comets. Though the Scots surpassed Olivet in both passing yards, with 207, and rushing yards, 184, they still suffered 4 turnovers compared to Olivet’s 1 which contributed to the loss.
“I am extremely happy with how hard the team worked and every week they competed. If they take that same mentality into everything else they do, they will be successful. It was fun to be a part of this team, it’s obvious they care about each other and have a deep desire to do their best for one another,” said Coach Couch.
The Scots will end their season on Saturday Nov. 15 in a game against Finlandia University. For some players, this will be the last game they ever play.
The team has come a long way from last season and they look forward to ending their season on a high note.
“The progression of our team has been steady ever since the end of last season. The senior group we had this year have stepped up and created a culture that I feel will be around for a long time. Seniors such as Max Kretzschmar, Steve Sowa, Zeke Ramirez deserve a lot of credit for the impact they have left on this program and have set the bar high for the years to come,” said Couch.
Coach Couch spoke his thoughts on the season ending game.
“WIN, and honor the seniors who are going to put on the Scots jersey one last time. They have spent countless hours preparing themselves, making sure they are physically and mentally ready to represent Alma College the best they can. When you work so hard on something and it comes to an end it is very difficult and emotional. We will share laughs and tears following the game. The Seniors and their parents should be proud of what they have accomplished. They will be missed,” Said Couch.
After Saturday’s season ending game, the coaches will get to work to replace and build next year’s team.
“Coaches will hit the road Monday, working hard to bring in a strong 2020 class. We will travel to most of the schools in the state of Michigan and target a 40-50 schools out of state,” said Couch.