NAIA FOOTBALL DOWN TO ITS FINAL FOUR TEAMS – The MARIAN UNIVERSITY KNIGHTS, who are the Top Ranked and Top Seeded team in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, completely annihilated the 11th seeded ST FRANCIS (IL) FIGHTING SAINTS by a score of 49-7. The Fighting Saints pulled off the upset of the 6 seeds from Morningside last Saturday, but the Knights would have none of it. Marian played focused on both sides of the ball and made St Francis’ trip to Indiana a nightmare for them.
COUGARS CLAW THE PIONEERS – The SAINT XAVIER COUGARS, who were ranked at number one in the polls for the bulk of the 2011 season saw their one loss – to then- number 2 Marian in the next- to the last game of the regular season – drop them to a 5 seed in the playoffs. They rose above that bizarre snub and have taken care of business in the first 2 rounds, yesterday slapping around the 4th seeded MIDAMERICA NAZARENE UNIVERSITY PIONEERS by a score of 29- 14. Mike Feminis’ boys move on to the semi- finals and you can’t want to play this team with the roll they’re on.
NO, NOT THAT GEORGETOWN – The GEORGETOWN (KY) TIGERS clashed with their fellow NAIA football power the ST FRANCIS (IN) COUGARS in this quarterfinal matchup. Home standing Georgetown College came out on top 26- 14.
TWO MINUTE DRILL – With barely two minutes left in regulation, the CC FIGHTING SAINTS, the defending champions of NAIA football, wrested the lead from the AZUSA PACIFIC UNIVERSITY COUGARS and won by a score of 17- 14. Just like last year an eventful season for APU was cut short by the Hellions from Helena.
INSERT YOUR OWN DUDLEY DO- RIGHT JOKE HERE – If the CCCAA was the NFL yesterday would have been the NFC and AFC championship games. The MT SAN ANTONIO COLLEGE MOUNTIES, the defending champs of BOTH the SCFA and the CCCAA, won an Instant Classic over the visiting CERRITOS COLLEGE FALCONS. The Mounties won 17-14, notch another SCFA title and go on to play in the CCCAA championship game on December 10th.
RAM ON RAM VIOLENCE – The CITY COLLEGE OF SAN FRANCISCO RAMS welcomed the FRESNO CITY RAMS for the NCFA championship matchup. CCSF, the reigning NCFA champs, defended their crown in a 57- 13 laugher. The Golden Gate City’s Rams will battle the SCFA champs, the Mt San Antonio College Mounties, for all the marbles (don’t you hate that cliche) in the aforementioned CCCAA championship game.
NCAA DIVISION 3 PLAYOFFS
A ONE SEED TAKES A FALL – The DELAWARE VALLEY AGGIES were the 1 seeds in their region, but were stunned at home by the ST JOHN FISHER CARDINALS in a 27- 14 shocker. The Cardinals are THE road warriors of the D3 playoffs so far this year, having brought down the heavily favored JOHNS HOPKINS BLUE JAYS last Saturday.
WILL IT BE SEVEN IN A ROW? – The WHITEWATER WARHAWKS and the MT UNION PURPLE RAIDERS, both 1 seeds in their region, each moved one step closer to making it the 7th year in a row that they will face each other in the D3 championship game AKA the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. The two have split three titles each over the past six years prompting jokes implying that the two should play for the championship on Labor Day weekend and the rest of the season should just be canceled. UWW hammered the FRANKLIN GRIZZLIES 41-14 and MUC routed the CENTRE COLONELS 30- 10.
HIT THE ROAD, “MAC” – The MARY HARDIN- BAYLOR CRUSADERS, also a 1 seed, ended the MCMURRY WAR HAWKS’ time in D3 with a 49-20 spanking. The War Hawks move up to D2 next year and made this season their most memorable football campaign in a long time until running into the ever- tough Crusaders yesterday.
MARATHON GAME OF THE WEEK – For this week the award goes to the Triple Overtime clash between the SALISBURY SEA GULLS and the KEAN COUGARS. The Sea Gulls proved that you can never discount Balladeer’s Blog’s Law Of More Unusual Nicknames, not even in postseason play. Salisbury’s successful 2- point conversion in the 3rd overtime gave them a 49-47 victory.
LITTLE GIANTS, BIG GAME – The WABASH LITTLE GIANTS won an Instant Classic against the NORTH CENTRAL CARDINALS. The 29-28 final score turned many hairs grey yesterday for the fans of both teams, but ultimately the home squad prevailed. Insert my usual remark about wishing the Wabash teams were called the Cannonballs.
TROUBLE ON THE HOME FRONT? – Two home teams today looked like they might be in trouble before turning things around for a victory. The ST THOMAS TOMMIES got off to a slow start, but eventually reverted to form, de- kilting the MONMOUTH SCOTS by a score of 38- 10. Meanwhile, the WESLEY WOLVERINES, who made it to the semi- finals last year before falling to Whitewater, were trailing the LINFIELD WILDCATS by double digits before clamping down on both sides of the ball for a 49- 34 victory.
NCAA DIVISION 2 PLAYOFFS
A PAIR OF ONE SEEDS TAKE A FALL – The 2nd round of last year’s D2 playoffs were a textbook example of the “rest or rust” quandary when it comes to having a 1st round bye. Last year out of eight 1 and 2 seeds only 3 won after having been off the week before. Yesterday saw a pair of 1 seeds and a pair of 2 seeds fall, once again raising questions over whether the 1st round bye is an advantage or a detriment. The MIDWESTERN STATE MUSTANGS fell in overtime to the NORTHWEST MISSOURI BEARCATS by a score of 38-31. The other 1 seed to be toppled, the PUEBLO THUNDERWOLVES saw their lack of playoff experience prove to be the difference in their battle with the defending champs of D2, the MINNESOTA- DULUTH BULLDOGS. UMD’s postseason veterans helped pull out a tight 24- 21 victory.
TWO 2 SEEDS, TOO – The NEBRASKA- KEARNEY LOPERS were stunned by the upstart WAYNE STATE WARRIORS by a final score of 38- 26 while the MARS HILL LIONS lost in a blowout to the NORTH GREENVILLE CRUSADERS. The score in that rout wound up being 58-32.
SOMETIMES REMATCHES ARE OVERRATED – Each year in the D2 playoffs those two Gulf South Conference rivals the DELTA STATE STATESMEN and THE Terry Bowden’s NORTH ALABAMA LIONS seem to take turns knocking each other out of the playoffs. When these teams clashed in the regular season they were ranked 1 and 2 in the nation, with the Statesmen emerging with an epic overtime win. The much anticipated rematch wound up being a non- event, with Delta State dismembering the visting UNA by a score of 42- 14.
GUS TRIUMPHANT – Gus the gorilla, the mascot of the PITTSBURG (KS) STATE GORILLAS, was no doubt pleased as his team moved on to the 3rd round of the playoffs after yesterday’s hard- hitting, building- toppling win over the WASHBURN ICHABODS. The Gorillas walked away with a 31- 22 victory in this prime example of what they call “smash- mouth football.”
VULCANS EXTINGUISHED – The CALIFORNIA (PA) VULCANS had their forge extinguished by the WINSTON- SALEM RAMS in a 35-28 affair. Moving down to D2 from D1 a few years back was the best gridiron strategy the Rams have ever employed.
HARD CHARGING – The NEW HAVEN CHARGERS, the football pride of the Northeast 10 Conference, survived a very hard- fought game against the visiting KUTZTOWN GOLDEN BEARS. The final score in this matchup was 44- 37.
******KANZA BOWL – Today, Sunday, the Kanza Bowl was played between the CENTRAL MISSOURI MULES and the WEST TEXAS A&M BUFFALOES. The Mules stubbornly refused to get out of their own way and wound up playing their poorest game of the year. West Texas A&M, where Dexter Manley, son of the former Washington Redskin of the same name played his college football, smacked the Mules down by a score of 26- 7.