Grand View wins NAIA football title

It didn’t take long for Grand View to win its first national

championship.

Derek Fulton threw four touchdown passes and ran for another

score to help Grand View win the NAIA title in the Iowa school’s

sixth year of football, 35-23 over the University of the

Cumberlands on Saturday.

Fulton, a sophomore, completed 19 of 39 passes for 300 yards and

ran 13 times for 74 yards as second-ranked Grand View completed a

14-0 season at the expense of No. 1 Cumberlands (13-1).

”When we started, I wanted to make us a national-caliber

program,” coach Mike Woodley said. ”But I never put a timetable

on winning a championship. You just never know about something like

that.”

Fulton was selected the most outstanding offensive player, and

Grand View senior linebacker Jason Gladfelder, who was in on 15

tackles, took defensive honors.

”I knew when I got here two years ago that we had a lot of good

players,” Fulton said. ”But I didn’t really expect this. How can

you? But it really feels great.”

It started raining at the end of the game, but that couldn’t

damper the Grand View celebration. Woodley even did a little dance

at the urging of his players.

”All our success is because of Coach Woodley,” Gladfelder

said. ”He told us that we could do this and you have to believe.

Now it has all come true.”

Cumberlands rushed for 309 yards, with D’Angelo Jordan gaining

128 yards on 17 carries, and Adam Craig getting 94 yards on 30

attempts. But the Kentucky school had only 60 yards passing, as

freshman Craig went 5 for 11 with an interception.

”That’s a good team and we knew it would be hard to stop

them,” Gladfelder said.

Grand View stopped Cumberlands on downs at the 1 in the third

quarter, and took advantage of a muffed punt to go up 28-17 early

in the fourth. Wes Horneister recovered Iquan Dee’s muff at the 27

and the Vikings scored in three plays, with Fulton hitting Brady

Roland with a 4-yard touchdown pass.

Craig capped a 10-play, 63-yard drive from a yard out with 7:28

remaining, but Cumberlands’ try for the two-point conversion

failed. Grand View then went 56 yards in five plays for the

clinching touchdown. Fulton hit Roland with a 43-yard pass and then

took it over himself from a yard out with 4:53 left.

”We’re extremely disappointed, but the players fought hard and

I’m proud of the season we had,” Cumberlands coach John Bland

said.

Grand View scored the first three times it had the ball, going

80, 75 and 61 yards to take a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter

on Fulton’s third touchdown pass. Cumberlands, though, stopped the

Vikings on downs inside the 1 to close the half down 21-17.

Jordan, who had 122 yards on 14 first-half carries, broke off a

45-yard touchdown run for Cumberlands, and Craig scored from a yard

out to close the gap. Al Merrick started the Patriots’ scoring with

a 33-yard field goal.

Fulton hit Keonte White with a 59-yard TD strike to start the

scoring, then teamed with Taylor Goebel for a 7-yarder and Davion

Hurst on a 2-yarder. Craig accounted for 229 total yards in the

first half, completing 13 of 27 passes and rushing for 55

yards.

Senior linebacker West Hazelhurst was in on a game-best 17

tackles for Cumberlands, but the Patriots gave up 429 yards.

”Getting here was our goal,” Hazelhurst said. ”It didn’t end

the way we wanted, but it’s been a great ride.”

The game, played before a near-capacity crowd of 5,295, was the

sixth and final NAIA championship in Rome. The event is moving to

Daytona Beach, Fla., for the next three years.

Grand View rolled to a 35-0 semifinal victory over 2012

runner-up Morningside (Iowa), ranked No. 5, while Cumberlands had

to go to overtime before securing a 34-27 victory over No. 3-ranked

Carroll (Mont.), which has won six NAIA titles.