OAKLAND (BCN) - The Laney College Eagles of Oakland have been officially named the top-ranked junior college football team in the country for the 2018 season, the college said.
"Being recognized as national champions is a dream come true," John Beam, Laney's head football coach and athletics director, said in a statement.
Beam said, "It validates all the hard work dedication and effort that our team and coaches put in to achieve unparalleled success. It fills my heart with so much pride to know that we won the national championship with young men who often have been counted out their whole lives."
The ranking was conducted by Massey Statistics, not the NJCAA. According to Massey, Laney College actually surpassed teams in the NCAA Division, according to Peralta District spokesman Max Bernal.
Laney won the California Community College Athletic Association championship on Dec. 8 by defeating the Ventura College Pirates 40-35 and finished the season with an 11-2 record.
Laney said that according to the Massesy ratings agency, the rankings show that the Eagles not only were the No. 1 junior college football team in the nation but also outperformed dozens of football teams in the NCAA, including larger schools such as Villanova, Georgia State, New Mexico State, and Columbia.
Laney's Office of the President and the Athletics Department sponsored an event earlier this week to recognize and honor the football team's players, coaches, and staff.
Laney President Tammeil Gilkerson emceed the event and presented each player with a framed photograph of the team.
The Eagles also received a $5,000 check from the Oakland A's to pay for buying championship rings for the players.