Photo by CJ Halloran/True To The Cru
CANTON, Ohio- The UMHB football team dominated the competition at the D-III national title game Friday night, taking down top-ranked North Central 57-24 to claim the program’s third national championship crown.
In all facets of the game, the Crusaders put together a near-flawless performance, tallying more first downs (28), total yards of offense (596), rushing yards (133), and passing yards (463) than the Cardinals of North Central en route to UMHB’s 15th win of the season, and 20th victory in the calendar year.
NCC set the tone early, however, taking a 7-0 lead on DeAngelo Hardy’s 93-yard return on the opening kickoff. The Cru responded, with a 32-yard Brandon Cunningham field goal, to cut the deficit to 7-3, and then added touchdowns to Brandon Jordan and KJ Miller, making it 16-7, as the PAT was blocked following the first score.
Both touchdowns went for 19-yards, before NCC running back Ethan Greenfield found the end zone, cutting the score to 16-14, and the Cardinals then connected on a field goal with 2:05 left in the second quarter. That was the last time NCC led, as Cunningham’s 22-yard field goal as time expired in the quarter gave UMHB a 19-17 advantage.
It was all UMHB from that point on, as running back Aphonso Thomas scored twice in the quarter, extending the Cru’s lead to 33-17. Kenneth Cormier’s 11-yard rushing touchdown to open the fourth quarter, along with a 37-yard score from Kyle King to Aaron Sims sealed the victory as the fourth quarter progressed. Ryan Redding capped the scoring, finding Brenton Martin at the back of the end zone to make it 57-24, which was the final score.
King broke the program record for passing yards in a game, with 436. The previous record was 397. Mikkah Hackett, who tallied two interceptions and 10 tackles, was named the Stagg Bowl Most Outstanding Player.
This story is only a recap. Stay tuned for a complete game story, including quotes from Head Coach Pete Fredenburg and players. Once published, a link will be posted below this article.