To most people, division three football is considered a last resort to going to play big-time college football. What those same people wouldn’t know is that since I’ll say 2003, there has been a big surge in division three players being drafted to the league. Names like London Fletcher, Pierre Garcon’, and Cecil Shorts have all hailed from division three schools.
This brings me to the main topic. The Ohio Athletic Conference kicked off spring play Friday night and already there is much to be excited about. For those not aware, The OAC is considered by many in the sports world to be the toughest conference in all of division three football. The North Coast Athletic Conference is a close second.
As expected, the Mount Union Purple Raiders are expected to win the OAC title, But lately, the thorn in the Purple Raiders’ side has been rival John Carroll University and, in an abbreviated four-game season, this rivalry is going to tell a lot going forward. From 2017-2019, the Purple Raiders continued their dominance over the OAC, but back in 2016, the Blue Streaks took the crown.
With OAC play kicking off Friday night, both John Carroll and Mount Union made statements as both teams won their opening games. Mount Union elbow dropping Muskingum 51-15 and John Carroll beating crosstown rival Baldwin Wallace 28-17. March 19 will tell all as the biggest game of the year in division three will happen as Mount Union will welcome John Carroll to the unfriendly confines of Mount Union Stadium for what will ultimately be the deciding factor of who will win the OAC title.
Despite Mount Union winning the last four games since their last loss to John Carroll in 2016, the Raiders are looking are will more than likely be out for blood the rest of the season. To say I’m excited is an understatement. The last time I went to this game it went down to the wire and the Raiders made London Fletcher’s Hall of fame induction a bitter-sweet one.
I’m looking forward to this game, not just to see who will win, but to see how this rivalry has grown in the last five or six years. Expect scoring, big hits, and defense to show up throughout this game. I have a final prediction but don’t expect the Blue Streaks to lie down and take a beating. John Carroll will fight to the end.
FINAL PREDICTION: Raiders win in a close shootout. A late turnover gives them the night. 42-34 RAIDERS!