BELTON- The UMHB football team will begin its run in this year’s D-III football playoffs on its home turf.
Sunday’s selection show brought about the bracket for the 2022 D-III playoffs, and the news that the Crusaders, ranked No. 3 in the nation with a 9-1 record, will open the postseason in Belton, hosting Huntingdon in a first-round matchup this coming Saturday at noon.
“They’re excited about the opportunity,” UMHB head coach Larry Harmon said of his team on Saturday. “They’ve waited a long time, from about the middle of January until now. They’ve sacrificed a lot. They’ve gone through a bunch and now we finally get a chance to get back in the playoffs.”
UMHB claimed its 18th straight ASC title with Saturday’s 62-3 victory over McMurry in the regular season finale, and clinched the conference’s automatic bid to the postseason.
Huntingdon is a conference champion itself, having won the USA South Conference with a 7-0 record in league play, and a 9-1 mark overall. The Hawks, from Montgomery, Alabama, are back in the playoffs after falling in the first round to Birmingham-Southern in 2021. Huntingdon enters the postseason on a nine-game winning streak, with the lone loss having come in Week 1 to Linfield, 41-34.
UMHB played the first three games of the 2021 playoffs at Crusader Stadium, defeating Trinity, Birmingham-Southern, and Linfield in that order, before winning in the semifinals and Stagg Bowl out of state.
With a win on Saturday, UMHB would play the winner of Trinity (TX) and Hardin-Simmons in the second round. Trinity is ranked No. 6 in the nation, having posted a perfect 10-0 record, and were ranked No. 1 in Region 3 in last week’s NCAA Regional Rankings. Hardin-Simmons is No. 9, and was No. 5 in the regional rankings. UMHB was No. 3 in the region, and Huntingdon was No. 4, and was ranked No. 20 in Sunday’s D3football.com Top 25.
The 2022 Stagg Bowl will be held on Dec. 16 in Annapolis, Maryland.