The Backyard Football League
While many students view the weekend as a time to escape school property, a particular group decides to stick around. Known as the Backyard Football League (BFL), the group plays pick-up football on Maple Field each Saturday afternoon.
Spearheaded by Joe Wujciak, Leigh Murray and Conor Ryan, the BFL was originally formed in 2012. Founding members included Cameron McIntyre, Adam Klepp and Scott Caspersen. Later inductees include JP Shady and Jonah Lopas, who entered the league in 2013.
“I have a blast playing every weekend,” Joe Wujciak said.
Games are played best two out of three, with a score limit of 28. There is no clock and teams are each awarded five downs from which they are to conduct a 40 yard scoring drive.
Players play both sides of the game, offense and defense, which requiring a decent amount of energy if the players want to play at full capacity.
“He was a varsity quarterback, a quality player,” McIntyre said.
Usually the maples starting quarterback Leigh Murray plays all time quarterback, which means he is exclusively quarterback and is neutral to each team.
“Rivalries basically consist of Conor versus everybody, but specifically Conor versus Jonah and Joe versus Cameron,” Wujciak said.
These rivalry matches occur because each player is allowed to be a so-called captain one week and pick the players for their team. The team names are usually a play on words, like the Boise State Broncjoes, or the Florida State Caminoles.
Due to the close bonds of the players, who are friends both off and on the field, an enormous amount of competition is bound to happen.
“Conor and Scott got into a full on fight and we had to break it up,” Wujciak said. “Scott and Dustin also went at it on a different occasion, it gets pretty intense.”
These feuds come as a result of the competitor’s love of the game and an unwillingness to lose.
Specifically, Ryan and Caspersen are known for their ultracompetitive nature.
Wujciak has also referred to the duo as, “feisty.”
The attitude of the league is what separates it from other backyard games. They truly believe they should all be college prospects, some of them believing they should be playing Division One football.
Lopas, a Bloomfield Hills High School senior, brings an outside perspective into the league.
“It’s a fun thing to do every Saturday because of the competition and rivalries,” Jonah Lopas said.
The league itself is equipped with their own website, featuring stats and profiles of the players. The BFL also has a YouTube channel where the highlights of the league are put on display.
The games are filmed by Adam Klepp’s younger brother, William Klepp. William Klepp will tend to film about one game at a time due to storage space on his camera.
William is compensated for his efforts and enjoys the editing process.
The league is a good way for friends to interact in a healthy way outdoors, a rarity in today’s increasingly screen oriented society.
“It’s a great way to start the weekend,” Wujciak said.