DURHAM, N.C. — No. 2 Morningside beat No. 3 Grand View 38-28 to win its third NAIA football championship in four seasons on Saturday.
Both teams were tied 21-21 at halftime after a back-and-forth first half. Grand View took a 28-21 lead early in the 3rd quarter after a blocked punt set up a short touchdown. But Morningside’s juggernaut offense and staunch defense were too strong for the remainder of the game. Morningside scored 17 unanswered points to pull out the championship win.
Morningside quarterback Joe Dolincheck completed 29 of 45 passes for 405 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Anthony Sims rushed for 145 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Reid Jurgensmeier had 13 receptions for 216 yards and a touchdown.
Grand View quarterback Johnny Sullivan completed 19 of 40 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Bennett Spry had 7 receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown. Running back Ali Scott rushed for 43 yards and two touchdowns.
Morningside finishes the season undefeated at 14-0. Grand View suffered its first loss, ending the season at 14-1.
This is Morningside’s third national championship in the last four seasons, previously winning back-to-back national titles in 2018 and 2019.
Grand View struck on the first possession of the game on Johnny Sullivan’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Turner.
Morningside responded by scoring touchdowns in its first two possessions. A pair of Anthony Sims rushing touchdowns put the Mustangs ahead 14-7.
Grand View gained momentum by forcing three Morningside turnovers in the first half, including two in the 2nd quarter.
Sullivan completed a 57-yard pass to Bennett Spry to set up a 1-yard touchdown run for Ali Scott to tie the game 14-14 with 7:20 left in the 2nd quarter.
Grand View retook the lead with 3:03 left in the first half on Sullivan’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Spry.
Morningside tied the game right before halftime. Joe Dolincheck found Austin Johnson in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Grand View blocked a Morningside punt to take possession of the ball 5 yards from the goal line. Four plays later and Scott ran in a 1-yard touchdown to put Grand View ahead 28-21.
Morningside tied the game at 28-28 with 6 seconds left in the 3rd quarter. Sims scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to cap off a 15-play, 82-yard drive.
Morningside took a 35-28 lead on Dolincheck’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Reid Jurgensmeier with 9:22 left in the game.
Morningside kicker Chase Carter made a 26-yard field to extend Morningside’s lead to 38-28 with 1:10 to go.