Club football begins nine-game season
While the NCAA contemplates paying college football players at the biggest football powerhouses, the athletes who make up Wright State’s club football team are paying to play in nine games this season starting Saturday with a game at Wisconsin-Parkside on Saturday.
“It is hard to hear all the talk about (paying athletes) and we put all this money but we get so much more out of it because it is our program at that point,” Raiders offensive lineman Shawn Focht said. “It is something we’re building and contributing towards.”
The Raiders will kick off their regular season under new head coach Anthony Van Horn who was promoted from defensive assistant last year.
Being a non-NCAA program, members of the team are not eligible for academic scholarships but that does not mean the competition level is inferior. NCAA Division II and III programs recruited members of the team like quarterback Nate Bollheimer.
Van Horn said he felt fortunate to sign Bollheimer, an Anna, Ohio native, who was being recruited as a running back.
“I love the challenge of being quarterback,” Bollheimer said. “Also trying to be a leader on this team, I love the game and I think quarterback is the most fun position out there.”
Bollheimer’s best attribute is his speed, according to Van Horn. Instead of using his speed for option plays, Van Horn said he thinks Bollheimer will be best used as a scrambler.
“He is pretty quick on his feet. It is good to have someone back there that is able to move when he moves when he needs to,” Focht said.
The Raiders are coming off a disappointing 1-6 season in 2012, but with more than half of the 30 members of the squad being freshmen, depth has greatly improved on the squad.
Members of the team are hoping to receive more support from the WSU campus community. Club President Jared Rex, a sophomore defensive back, said he relishes when students and university employees call WSU a non-football institution.
“I take pride in getting as many people to know about the program,” Rex said. “It is real football. It is not tag football and you’re down. It is full pads and that is what I tell people.”
Van Horn said he expects the team to put up a lot of points this season with a fast offense. Focht said he thinks fans will enjoy the Raiders fast brand of football.
“I know that we all take a lot of pride in this team and this school,” Focht said. “If students want to see a college football game, what better place than right here at Wright State?”