By Musa Odeh
The air is crisp and quiet as the sun slowly drops below the horizon. You can feel the heat from the stadium lights as the glare on the field makes you squint for a split second. The crowd cheers and the bleachers rattle as the home team comes roaring onto the field. One might believe this is a typical game day at Fordson High School, but second guess themselves when they realize itâ€™s Saturday and the Tractors only play on Friday nights. One might also come to wonder why the home team is not wearing the traditional maize and blue colors; instead itâ€™s purple and black. No Michigan style helmets in sight, only black raven decals and black face masks.
The field is the same. The winning tradition is similar but the home team is different.
The Detroit Ravens have a contract with Fordson High School which allows them to claim Fordson as their home turf.
The Ravens are a semi-pro football team and the program was founded in 2004. â€œI established this program to give young men a chance to elevate their game past the college level. We recruit collegiate athletes from all over Michigan and some from out of state,â€ said Ravens owner Jason Curtis.
The Ravens play in the United States Football Alliance division and travel to play elite teams all over the country. It only took the Ravens three years to build a program strong enough to win a national title.
The semi-pro team decided to recruit a Dearborn native and 2004 graduate of Fordson High School. â€œHe was captain of the football team in â€˜04 and helped the tractors win back-to-back league titles. He was also a DB at Wayne State, so we brought him in last year to strengthen our defense and call the shots from back there.â€
In 2007, the Ravens traveled to Miami, Florida to play in the USA Bowl. They defeated the Vermont Ice Storm 21-13 and accomplished a goal that most teams only dream of; being crowned national champions.
â€œEvery year our team rebuilds and we become bigger and stronger. No one likes playing the Ravens because we are the team to beat,â€ said Head Coach Eric Bradford.
The Ravens have soared into their 2010 season with a current overall record of 8-2, (8-0 in their division) which puts them on track to win the USFA and compete for a second National Championship.
A pass oriented offense with a solid running game and a few wildcat formations leave Ravens opponents stunned on how to scout and defend them. The Ravens defense is very stingy giving up an average of nine points per game. As if that wasnâ€™t enough; they also have one of the best special teams unit in the state.
On Saturday, the Ravens will be traveling to Ohio to compete against the Northwest Ohio Knights in a game that could decide who wins the division for the 2010 campaign.
Fly high Ravens.