2022 NAIA Football Championship Series Round One Summary

KANSAS CITY, MON – [FCS Schedule] The first round of the NAIA Football Championship Series ended Saturday with seven of the eight seeded players victorious. Six of the eight teams remaining in contention for the Red Banner advanced to the quarterfinals in 2021, with Indiana Wesleyan and Benedictine (Kan.) being the two new institutions in the mix.

#1 Morningside (Iowa) 35, #16 Arizona Christian 18

  • The reigning champions were hot out of the gates with 21 points in the first quarter; After ACU cut it to 21-18, the Mustangs pulled away with two more touchdowns
  • Ryan Cole carried the rock 44 times for 208 yards for Morningside and played without star QB Joe Dolincheck
  • Tyler Duncan threw two points through the air for the Firestorm, for a total of 199 yards

#2 Grand View (Iowa) 17, No. 15 Carroll (Mont.) 14

  • The Vikings controlled the game as a late result by the Fighting Saints narrowed it from a 10-point lead
  • Johnny Sullivan threw for 168 yards and two points while Ali Scott added 125 on the floor
  • Jack Prka threw two touchdowns to Tony Collins and Carson Ocha

No. 3 Northwest (Iowa) 49, No. 14 Dickinson State (ND) 7th

  • The Red Raiders take credit for most points scored and widest margin of victory (42)
  • Jayln Gramstad scored three of the teams’ four quick touchdowns, while Cade Moser snagged two more points
  • Aaron White threw Kaden Kuntz and Isaiah Kludt a total of 120 yards and caught five balls each

No. 12 Keizer (Fla.) 27, No. 4 Bethel (Tennessee) 17

  • The Seahawks made a furious comeback in the fourth quarter from a 17-7 deficit
  • Shea Spencer threw two TDs and passed for 211 yards; Jaden Meizinger ran for 166 and Jaylen Arnold got the catches for 107
  • Joaquin Collazo III had 254 yards in the air for two goals but two costly interceptions; Davius ​​Prather and JD Dixon each had seven catches north of 100 yards

#5 Indiana Wesleyan 14, No. 13 Avila (Mon.) 7

  • The Wildcats took a 14-0 lead and all the points came in the first half
  • Dederrian Williams rushed 33 times for 178 yards for IWU, who owned the ball for 35 minutes
  • Running back Malik Nesbitt had 67 yards on the ground while QB Eli Williams had 66 yards for the Eagles

6 Benedictines (can.) 35, No. 10 Southwest (Can.) 7

  • The Ravens led 28-0 before the Moundbuilders scored midway through the final period
  • BC was led by JaShawn Todd and Austin Buteaux, each with two catches and 68 total yards each
  • Southwestern QB Luke Barns threw for 267 yards, one touchdown and one interception

No. 7 Marian (Ind.) 41, No. 11 Saint Xavier (fig.) 7

  • Zach Bundalo threw an FCS first-round high of 4 touchdowns, all to Ben Stevens, who received 157 total yards
  • The Knights defense hit SXU four times for a total of 66 yards on returns
  • Amari Venerable had 11 carries and seven catches, both team highs for 69 total yards

#8 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 23, No. 9 Reinhardt (Ga.) 22

  • The Blue Raiders controlled most of the game and led 23-0 midway through the fourth quarter
  • Kobe Belcher did the most damage on the ground with 33 carries for 137 yards; 69 of Ethan Cash’s 128 yards were caught by Jaleel Warren
  • Hunter Arters threw points and 268 yards, with David Freidberg totaling just under 100 on three catches

The full field has 12 automatic qualifiers and four free berths. To qualify for automatic entry, teams must win their regular-season conference title. The vacant berths were determined by the NAIA Football National Selection Committee. Teams that earn a spot at large must be ranked within the top 20 of the final Top 25 NAIA Coaches Poll.

The 67th annual NAIA Football National Championship will culminate on December 17th at Durham County Memorial Stadium in Durham, NC. For more information on the 2022 NAIA Football National Championship, click here.