Communication and Marketing

A season for the ages

Scots football wins MIAA championship and NCAA playoff game.

The Scots' playoff run galvanized its fanbase like few events in recent athletics history. Alma t... The Scots’ playoff run galvanized its fanbase like few events in recent athletics history. Alma toppled Albion College on Nov. 12 to win the MIAA championship before a Bahlke Field-record crowd of 4,405.After the Alma College football team went 5-5 in the 2021 season, players and the coaching staff challenged themselves to do better.

They did better. They did way better.

The Scots finished the 2022 regular season undefeated, going 10-0 and clinching the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championship with a win at Bahlke Field — their first since 2004 — over fellow undefeated and longtime rival Albion College. 2022 marked the Scots’ first undefeated season since 1968.

The Scots won their first NCAA Division III football playoff game in history, routing Mount St. Joseph (OH) University at home by a score of 41-21, before falling in the second round against a tough Aurora (IL) University squad.

The Scots galvanized a hungry base of community, alumni and campus fans like little else in recent history, setting a home attendance record during the Albion game (4,405) and making headlines throughout the state for a season that was simply excellent — and unprecedented in Alma history.

It was a year of highlights. Six Scots; quarterback Carter St. John, running back Eddie Williams, linebacker Odin Soffredine, defensive back Austin Flowers, offensive lineman Alex Dean, and tight end Cole Thomas, were named to the All-MIAA First Team. Eight more were named to the Second Team.

Williams finished the season as the team’s all-time single-season rushing leader with 1,184 yards on the ground. Kicker Joshua Hernandez set an MIAA record by kicking a 56-yard field goal against Adrian College. Six players received College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-District honors.

The team even received some recognition from statewide and national sources. The Detroit Free Press did a big feature story on the team. U.S. Sens. Gary Peters ’80 and Rob Portman, of Ohio, challenged each other in a viral video on social media before Alma squared off with Mount St. Joseph.

The key to the team’s success, said Head Coach Jason Couch ’97, was a determined, talented group of senior leaders, including 12 starters. They were Couch’s first recruiting class, after the former All-MIAA starting center came back to coach at his alma mater in 2018, and they worked hard to improve through the years, including a difficult 2020 season that was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When these guys decided to be Scots, we were 2-8. I challenged them and said, ‘If we stay together, this group is going to be special. I think it’s an incredible testament to their nature that they stuck with it for so long, and I’m so happy for them to pay off like it did,” Couch said. “Conference champs, 11 wins in a row? That’s phenomenal.”

The Scots have ample reason for a hopeful future. But the time for dreaming about what is to come is in the distance. For now, the team is reflecting on what was a historic season — a season for the ages.

Story published on January 11, 2023