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Grand View (Iowa) Wins First Football National Championship

December 21, 2013
By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information

ROME, Ga. – (Box Score) For the second-straight season there is a first-time champion in NAIA football, as No. 2 Grand View (Iowa) claimed its first-ever national crown by winning the 58th annual Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship, 35-23, over No. 1 Cumberlands (Ky.) Saturday night at Barron Stadium. In addition to the national title, the Vikings finish the season as the NAIA’s only remaining unbeaten team at 14-0.

"I'm proud of our football team," said Grand View head coach Mike Woodley. "This group of kids is one of the finest (I've coached). Tonight's victory is the biggest victory for me coaching. You run the table and go 14-0, you're a pretty good football team. This NAIA football is good football. People who haven't watched enough of it need to watch it. It's good football."

Since 1999, the first and second ranked teams have squared off for the title eight times with the No. 2 team owning a 7-1 record.

Much like they have all season, Grand View was the aggressor in the first quarter. The Vikings raced to a 14-3 lead, due in large part to quarterback Derek Fulton, who completed 9-of-13 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns in the opening frame. Fulton’s first throwing score came on Grand View’s opening possession when he escaped a Patriots’ defender and connected with Keonte White on a 59-yard touchdown pass – the second longest touchdown throw in championship game history since 2001.

Cumberlands (13-1) cut the deficit to 7-3 with a 9-play, 54-yard drive that was capped by a 33-yard field goal by Al Merrick. However, Grand View responded with its second-straight 75-plus-yard drive, highlighted by a 7-yard touchdown pass from Fulton to Taylor Goebel.

After the Viking defense held Cumberlands to a second three-and-out in the Patriots first three drives, Fulton struck again. He led Grand View on a 6-play, 61-yard drive to take a 21-3 advantage – which is the largest deficit Cumberlands has faced all season. Fulton completed 4-of-5 passes on the series, including a 2-yard touchdown pass to Davion Hurst. The drive was aided by a Cumberlands unsportsmanlike penalty that moved Grand View inside the Patriots’ 10-yard line.

Cumberlands seized back momentum in the second quarter with a pair of rushing touchdowns by tailback D’Angelo Jordan and quarterback Adam Craig. The scores made it a 21-17 Grand View advantage at the half.

In addition to the offense finding its stride in the second quarter, the Patriots’ defense came alive, holding Grand View to only 62 total yards in the quarter, with a large chunk of that (57 yards) coming on the Vikings final possession of the first half. During that final drive for Grand View, Cumberlands’ defense found itself pinned deep in its own territory after Fulton connected with Hurst on a 24-yard pitch-and-catch that gave the Vikings a first-and-10 on the Patriots’ 2-yard line. However, Cumberlands held strong, despite giving Grand View a second chance at scoring with an offside penalty on a field goal attempt, to force the turnover on downs.

Following a scoreless third quarter – the first time since Carroll (Mont.) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) failed to light the scoreboard in the fourth quarter of the 2011 title game – the two teams traded points in the fourth with Grand View opening the scoring on Fulton’s fourth touchdown strike of the game on a 4-yard pass to Brady Roland. At that point, the Vikings held a 28-17 advantage. The touchdown made Fulton the first NAIA quarterback to pass for four touchdowns in the title game since the association moved to one division in 1997.

Cumberlands made it a 28-23 affair following Craig’s second rushing touchdown of the game and school record-tying 26th of the season. However, similarly to the first half, Grand View was able to answer with a touchdown of its own to seal the victory.

Fulton, who was named the Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game, completed 19-of-39 attempts (48.7 percent) for a game-high 300 yards, including the previously mentioned four touchdowns. Additionally, he led the Grand View ground attack with 74 yards on 13 attempts with a touchdown, marking the fourth time this season he has thrown and ran for at least one score.

Roland emerged as Fulton’s favorite target, recording his third-straight 100-yard performance with 116 yards on seven catches.

As a team, Grand View recorded its 10th game with more than 400 yards of total offense with 429 total yards on 76 plays.

Defensively, Grand View was led by linebackers Jason Gladfelder and Dudley Bickham. Gladfelder, who was named the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Game, registered 15 tackles (10 solo), one tackle for loss and one pass breakup, while Bickham recorded 12 tackles (5 solo) and one tackle for loss.

Jordan paced the Patriots’ offense with 128 yards rushing and one touchdown, while Craig had 94 yards and two scores on 30 attempts. As a team, Cumberlands recorded 369 yards of total offense, including 309 on the ground. The Patriots struggled with turnovers, surrendering the ball four times.

2013 Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship Awards
Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game: Derek Fulton, Grand View (Iowa)
Outstanding Defensive Player of the Game: Jason Gladfelder, Grand View (Iowa)

Scoring by Quarters
  1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Grand View (Iowa) 14 7 0 14 35
Cumberlands (Ky.) 3 14 0 6 23

Scoring Summary
GV – Keonte White 59yd pass from Derek Fulton (Kody Wilkie kick), 11:49, 1st
UC – Al Merrick 33yd kick, 6:37, 1st
GV – Taylor Goebel 7yd pass from Derek Fulton (Kody Wilkie kick), 3:08, 1st
GV – Davion Hurst 2yd pass from Derek Fulton (Kody Wilkie kick), 14:26, 2nd
UC – D’Angelo Jordan 45yd run (Al Merrick kick), 11:32, 2nd
UC – Adam Craig 1yd run (Al Merrick kick), 6:34, 2nd
GV – Brady Roland 4yd pass from Derek Fulton (Kody Wilkie kick), 12:44, 4th
UC – Adam Craig 1yd run (2-point conversion failed), 7:28, 4th
GV – Derek Fulton 1yd run (Kody Wilkie kick), 4:53, 4th  

2013 NAIA Football National Championship Notes
• This is the sixth-straight year that Rome, Ga., has served as the host site for the Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship. There have been 45 different host venues in the 58-year history of the championship. One year after making history with the NAIA’s first non-Saturday title game since the association returned to one division in 1997, the event returns to Saturday for a 4:34 p.m. EST kickoff.
• The average attendance over the last six years is more than 5,600 fans. The highest attendance of 6,500 occurred in 2008 when Carroll (Mont.) and Sioux Falls (S.D.) squared off for the second-straight season. Sioux Falls avenged its 2007 loss to Carroll with a 23-7 victory. There were 5,295 people in attendance to see Cumberlands (Ky.) and Grand View (Iowa).
• Since moving to Rome in 2008, the average margin of victory is 6.8 points, including a three-point win by Marian (Ind.) last year. Since the NAIA went to one division in 1997, the national championship average margin of victory is 9.7 points. Ten of those 17 contests were decided by eight points-or-less.
• There have been 10 national championship shutouts since the event began in 1956. The last shutout came in 2000 when Georgetown (Ky.) blanked Northwestern Oklahoma State, 20-0. It is also the only shutout since the NAIA moved back to one division in 1997.
• Seven ties have occurred at the NAIA Football National Championship, including a 0-0 draw between Montana State and St. Joseph’s (Ind.) in the event’s inaugural game (1956). The last tie was a 21-21 stalemate between Central Washington and Findlay (Ohio) in the 1995 Division II title game.
• Last season’s 30-27 overtime thriller between Marian and Morningside (Iowa) was the first NAIA Football National Championship game to go into extra time. The Knights, who were only in their sixth-year of existence, won the game on a Mike Josifovski 26-yard field goal. Josifovski also connected on a 35-yarder as time expired to send the game into overtime.
• Both Cumberlands and Grand View are appearing in their first-ever national championship, marking the second-straight year that two title game rookies will play for a national crown. There have been 16 all-time national championship games that featured two newcomers, with two occurring since the NAIA returned to one division in 1997.
• This is the third year in a row a program won a title in its first championship appearance – Marian in 2012 and Saint Xavier in 2011 are the other two.
• Cumberlands and Grand View entered the playoffs as the first and second ranked teams in the final regular season edition of the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, marking the first time since 2010 that the top two ranked teams have reached the banner game.
• Since 1999, the first and second ranked teams have squared off for the title seven times with the No. 2 team owning a 7-1 record. The last and only No. 1 team to defeat the No. 2 squad for the championship came in 2005 when Carroll defeated Saint Francis (Ind.), 27-10.
• The lower ranked programs have won seven of the last eight national championships.
• Cumberlands and Grand View were the NAIA’s lone remaining unbeaten teams at 13-0. This is the first time two undefeated squads have played for the national title since Carroll and Sioux Falls in 2010.
• Cumberlands enters Saturday with a 5-7 all-time NAIA Football Championship Series record in seven appearances. Prior to 2013, the Patriots, who are the first team out of the Mid-South Conference to reach the title game since Georgetown in 2002, had never advanced beyond the quarterfinals.   
• The Patriots are 2-4 all-time against current Mid-States Football Association teams at the national championship. Both of Cumberlands’ victories against MSFA opponents came in this year’s NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS).
• Prior to 2013, Georgetown was the only Mid-South team to represent the conference in the title game. The Tigers appeared in the contest five times with national titles in 1991, 2000 and 2001.
• Cumberlands is only the second school from Kentucky to make the championship game with Georgetown being the other.
• Since 2000, the team which scored first is 10-4.
• Dating back to 1997, Grand View quarterback and Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game Derek Fulton is the first throw for four touchdown passes in the NAIA Championship Game. Carroll’s (Mont.) Tyler Emmert was the last to have three, doing so against St. Francis in 2005.
• Cumberlands quarterback Adam Craig rushed for a touchdown in all 14 of the Patriots’ games this season. He also has had two rushing scores in a game nine times this season.
• Craig tied the Cumberlands’ school record with 26 rushing touchdowns in a season.
• The 38 combined first-half points is the most in the title game since Georgetown and Sioux Falls (S.D.) tallied 41 in the 2001 contest.
• The blocked punt by Cumberlands’ Albert Huntley was the first in the championship game since 2008 when Sioux Falls’ Kyle Cummings had one against Carroll.
• Cumberlands is the first team to rush for over 300 yards in the championship game since Northwestern Oklahoma State had 321 versus Georgetown in 1999. The Patriots ended with 309
• Last time a team last three or more fumbles in the championship game was St. Francis against Sioux Falls in 2006. Cumberlands lost all three of its fumbles tonight against Grand View.
• The Patriots owned a +11 turnover margin heading into the championship game, but the Vikings won the turnover battle 4-0 tonight.
• Grand View’s Brady Roland is the first player to amass over 100 yards receiving in the title game since 2002, finishing with 116. That year, Carroll had two players (Casey Fitzsimmons (105) and Mark Gallik (104)) go over the century mark.
• The third quarter was the first scoreless period in the title game since the fourth quarter in the 2011 contest.
• This marks the first time all season Cumberlands was held under 28 points in a game and only the third time under 30.
• Cumberlands has ran for more than 300 yards in 11-of-14 games this season, including a season-best 475-yard effort against Pikeville (Ky.) on Sept. 26. The Patriots were held under 200 yards only once in 2013.
• The Patriots ended the season with at least one individual reach 100 yards rushing in seven-straight games.
• Linebacker Weston Hazelhurst, a first team All-Mid-South East Division selection for the second-straight season, leads the team with 131 tackles (51 solo), 18.0 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. In both the semifinal and championship games, he recorded 17 total tackles.
• Grand View went 9-0 versus ranked opponents this season. Cumberlands had eight victories against ranked opponents.
• Similarly to 2012 national champion Marian, Grand View reached and won the title game in only its sixth year of existence. The Vikings are playing in their second FCS and own a 3-1 record.
o Year-by-year season records: 2008 (2-8); 2009 (8-3); 2010 (6-4); 2011 (8-4); 2012 (8-3); 2013 (14-0)
• Grand View had never played a Mid-South Conference opponent in the FCS.
• The Vikings are the third-straight team from the Mid-States Football Association to win the national title.
• Cumberlands’ D’Angelo Jordan became the second player to rush for over 100 yards against Grand View this season, racking up 124 yards on 15 carries in the title game. Sam Tvedt of William Penn (Iowa) is the other person to run for more than 100 yards versus Grand View’s defense this season.
• Senior linebacker and Outstanding Defensive Player of the Game Jason Gladfelder was the cornerstone of the Vikings’ defense. He leads the squad with 91 tackles (71 solo), 26.5 tackles for loss and 15 sacks, while ranking second on the team in interceptions with three.
• Eight teams in the year’s FCS have made at least 10 postseason appearances (including this year): Carroll (21), Georgetown (19), Northwestern (Iowa) (17), Saint Francis (14), Baker (Kan.) (13), Benedictine (Kan.) (12), Missouri Valley 11 and Morningside (Iowa) (10)
• There were nine repeat programs from the 2012 FCS First Round.
• The Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) and Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) landed the most squads in the 16-team field with three teams each.
• Defending national champion Marian (Ind.) was the first team to miss the playoffs the year following its national crown since Findlay (Ohio) – 1997 national champion with a 14-7 win over Willamette (Ore.) – in 1998.

Postgame Comments - Grand View (Iowa) Coach Woodley
“Heck of a football game. Two really good football teams. I really think the difference in the game was a couple of turnovers Cumberlands had, and we took advantage of it. As I’m looking at these stats – and I’m not a big stats guy, the stats were pretty even. It came down to a couple things on special teams, and we took advantage of that.”

“I’m proud of our football team. We challenged our defense, and there’s 300 yards rushing here (by Cumberlands) and we don’t like that, but they scored only 23 points. The bottom line in football is points scored and points given up, and we won that. We were absolutely one of the best defensive teams in the country this year, only giving up 14 points game. To hold Cumberlands to 23 when they’re averaging 48, 49 points a game, it’s a great compliment to our players, our defense.”

Brady Roland, Jr., WR – “did he think he was in on that touchdown in 4th quarter”
“You know, I didn’t know. I think I caught that pass three times to be honest. But it was nice for Derek (Fulton) to get a rushing touchdown too.”

Jason Gladfelder, Sr., LB – having 2 weeks to prepare for Cumberlands’ offense
“Preparing for the triple option is nothing but assignments and alignment. But we faced two teams who run that offense as well this year, so we had plenty of practice for it. But the two weeks did help.”

Derek Fulton, So., QB – feeling at halftime
“The vibe in the locker room was really down. But I really didn’t think it was a bad thing. It was a good thing for us. We had faced some adversity earlier in the playoffs.

“Football is a game of momentum swings and tonight is a great example of that. My hat’s off to Cumberlands. They fought hard, but lucky we came out on top.”

Brady Roland, Jr., WR – feeling at halftime
“The locker room vibe was down at halftime, but our leaders got us up and got us going in the second half.

Jason Gladfelder, Sr., LB – feeling at halftime
“My philosophy is to just stay calm. There’s no need to be stressed about anything; you’ve got another half of football to play. We were still up.”

Derek Fulton, So., QB – GVU offense overshadowed by team’s defense
“To be honest, that’s how it’s been all year. Coach Woodley is always talking about our defense. Every day, it’s all about our defense. He shows us some love every once in a while."

“We like to play in a way where we don’t have to rely on our defense. That’s what I was telling the guys at halftime: Let’s go out there and play in a way where we don’t have to rely on our defense. I think we did that a little bit. At the end of the day, football is a team game.”

Gladfelder – on GVU’s goal-line stand in the 3rd quarter
“That was huge. I believe they started at their one-yard line. We were demoralized throughout that whole drive. I mean, they were just running the ball on us; we couldn’t stop them. We’re a bend but don’t break defense, … and it comes down to just make one play and go on to the next (play) and the next, and all of a sudden, it’s fourth down. You just make plays. That’s all it comes down to: making plays.”

Head Coach Mike Woodley
“When we started this six years ago, I had a vision, had a dream. And I told my athletic director and president we want a national caliber type team. They didn’t set a timetable. They didn’t ask me for a timetable. Things turned around for us real quick. Started everybody as a freshman our first year and won two games, and really got run out of the stadium a few times. But we flipped it the next year, and those freshmen became sophomores and ended up going 8-3 and went all the way to the last league game and played McKendree (Ill.) for the championship but lost it. Otherwise, we would’ve won the league in our second year. We play in a really good league. Trust me. The three national champions the last three years are out of our league. We don’t take a backseat to anybody.”

“This group of kids is one of the finest (I’ve coached). Tonight’s victory is the biggest victory for me coaching.

“You run the table and go 14-0, you’re a pretty good football team. This NAIA football is good football. People who haven’t watched enough of it need to watch it. It’s good football.

“When they play the type of offense they play, we were hoping to get a 10-point lead and make them throw the football and play catchup a little bit. (At that point) we felt we had them then. It’s hard to overcome that (deficit) when you don’t throw the ball around too much.”

“The only downer in the first half was not getting that (score) on fourth down (at the goal line) due to a great, great defensive stand by Cumberlands. That kind of took the wind out of us. But I told the coaches (at halftime) before we addressed the kids to stay positive. We won the first half. I heard Derek (Fulton) say this, ‘All we got to do is go 0-0 in this second half and we win the game.’”

“I just know this kids. I was not worried at halftime. I knew how they were going to respond. That was a good half of football; a darn good half of defense. “This team we just beat; they are really good. And my hat’s off to our players for winning this football game.”

Playing under the lights, on espn3
“Obviously, they were so excited. (The City of) Rome really gives you a lot of things to do to keep you busy

“We play the game at our level because you love the game of football. We’re not the entitled (NCAA) Division I guy, getting everything handed to you. But (this experience) was really neat for them. It was a great crowd. This city has done a great job with the game here, and I look forward to the opportunity to come back here. This whole community here; it’s amazing how they (took care of) everything. I’ve been to bowl games as a Division I coach, and the way they treated the kids made them feel like Division I big timers.”

Postgame Comments - Cumberlands (Ky.)
Head Coach John Bland
Opening statement
We were extremely disappointed we didn't win the football game ... our guys fought hard, proud of the season we had, 13-1, second in the nation, it was a great season for our program, for our community, for our captains. I can't just tell you how proud I am of these guys and all the rest they way they represented. We didn't make enough plays tonight and Grand View did.

Talk about the slow start and how Grand View jumped out to a 21-3 lead
When we were down, the mood of the team... we were a little shell-shocked. We just had to get something going, a little drive by our offense and have our defense get a stop. We just couldn't quite get it done. But, that is the way the ball bounced today. Our players fought hard. I felt like our plan was good. But, I have to give a lot of credit to Grand View, but it was a good fight.

Talk about looking ahead to next year
Our coaches do a good job of recruiting and getting quality players and quality people too. They (our seniors) have meant a lot to this program and we have built it up over time. This level (of football) is the highest level of all. That game could have gone either way, a few breaks and the momentum shifting. But, looking to the future we have some guys like (Adam) Craig and others who are young to continue this tradition and get us back here and have a good shot to win it.

D'Angelo Jordan, Sr., RB
On running the football
I felt good and once I had a feel for the defense and read my blocks better, that is how I got some yards and scored touchdowns.

On playing in his final game
The experience has been great and we couldn't have had a better finish as we played in the national championship. But, we obviously wanted to win it and that didn't happen.

Adam Craig, Fr., QB
Wrapping up your freshman season and the success
I couldn't have asked for a better freshman season, to have guys like this around me are awesome. This didn't end the way we wanted to but I'm just really proud to be a part of this team.

Talk about some things you will take from this game and apply to in next couple years We want to come back, but it will be hard to replace these guys like this. But, it's a learning experience and hopefully we can make it back and win it.

Weston Hazelhurst, Jr., LB 
Talk about how you came in as freshman and how your hard work has paid off now in getting to the national championship
This has been one of our goals, but we fell short. It's been a great ride with the group of guys I've had and I'm very thankful for my team.

Message to your defense after falling down 21-3 in the second quarter
We've been down before and we know what it's like to catch up. Coach told us that we don't want to end like this and to just keep fighting and eventually things will go our way.