DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Joe Dolincheck threw two touchdown passes, Anthony Sims ran for three scores and undefeated Morningside won the NAIA championship game on a drizzly Saturday night, knocking off previously unbeaten Grand View 38-28.
It was Morningside's (14-0) third title in four years. It was also the first time in 66 years that two teams from the same state (Iowa) competed in the title game.
Dolincheck, the NAIA Player of the Year, overcame two first-half interceptions and finished 29-of-45 passing for 405 yards. He completed 13 passes to Reid Jurgensmei, who finished with 216 yards receiving. The pair connected on the decisive touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
Sims was also a first team NAIA All-American selection and finished with 145 yards on 27 carries. He scored all three touchdowns runs from inside the 8-yard line.
Morningside, leading 35-28 with 4:51 remaining, looked to put the game away but Chase Carter’s 32-yard field-goal attempt just missed wide right. Yet on the ensuing series, the Vikings didn't pick up a first down when running back Ali Scott was stuffed for a loss on fourth-and-1 at their 29.
Carter split the uprights on his second attempt, a 26-yard field goal with 1:10 to play.
Johnny Sullivan completed 19 of 40 passes for 283 yards with two touchdowns but had two interceptions in the second half for Grand View (14-1). Bennett Spry had seven receptions for 109 yards that included a 10-yard TD catch.
Grand View took a 28-21 lead early in the third quarter. Seth Adrian pushed a Morningside player into punter Colton Irlbeck, forcing a deflected kick that enabled the Vikings to start its first series of the second half at the Morningside 5. Scott then bullied into the end zone from the 1-yard line on fourth down.
Although Grand View forced two interceptions and recovered a fumble in the first half, Sullivan's two picks on back-to-back drives helped set up Morningside touchdowns.
Sims scored on a 4-yard run that tied the game at 28. On the ensuing series, Drew Bessey picked off Sullivan’s overthrown pass. Dolincheck then lofted a 34-yard touchdown pass to Jurgensmei, who made the diving catch while falling into the end zone with 9:22 remaining.
Grand View won the title in 2013.
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