ORANGE CITY, Iowa (NORTHWESTERN) — No.5 Northwestern College fell to top-ranked Morningside 37-27 in a GPAC Championship match-up between unbeaten teams played today on Korver Field at DeValois Stadium.
Northwestern ends the regular season with an 8-1 record, 9-1 overall, and will find out its postseason opponent on Sunday night when the NAIA released its 16-team Football Championship Series pairings. Morningside wins the GPAC regular seson title with a 9-0 record, 10-0 overall and pushes its win streak to 25 games.
With Northwestern leading by three (13-10) at halftime, the Red Raiders were outscored 20-0 in a third quarter dominated by the Mustangs. Morningside scored on all four of its possessions while the hosts managed only three first downs resulting in a 30-13 lead by quarters end. Chase Carter began the second half scoring with a 40-yard field goal to tie the game at 13 at the 10:30 mark. Following a Northwestern punt, Morningside scored on its second play when A.P. Ponder broke through for a 56-yard run and a 20-13 advantage. The Mustangs scored again less than three minutes later when Joe Dolincheck hooked up with Addison Ross for a 21-yard touchdown at the 6:46 mark. Carter finished off the third quarter scoring with a 23-yard field goal to give Morningisde a 17-point lead with one quarter left to go.
Northwestern came back with a scoring drive early in the fourth quarter when Tyson Kooima hooked up with Cade Moser three straight times, the final one on an eight-yard reception, to make it a two-score game, 30-20, with 8:38 left. Morningside clinched the game, however, with a 14-play, 82-yard scoring drive that used up over six minutes of clock and ended with a Dolincheck to Austin Johnson touchdown. The Red Raiders added a late touchdown on a Kooima to Moser 26-yard pass but the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds to end any hope for the hosts.
The final stats indicate how close the game was with Northwestern gaining 485 yards compared to 498 by the Mustangs. The Red Raiders had the advantage in first downs (28-24) and time of possession (33:39 – 26:21) while Morningside won the turnover battle, 4-2.
Kooima completed 27-of-53 passes for 348 yards and matched his career high once again with four touchdowns. The junior also rushed 14 times for 56 yards. Moser had a career day in his first game back from injury, catching a career-high 11 passed for 125 yards and three touchdowns, also a career high. Shane Solberg totaled 10 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown and became the program’s all-time leader with 30 for his career. Jacob Kalogonis accounted for 78 yards rushing on 14 carries in his first game back from injury.