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Georgetown wins national championship

SAVANNAH, Tenn. (BP)–Georgetown College (14-0) became the first team in 12 years to win consecutive football national championships with a 49-27 victory against the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.) in the 46th Annual National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Football National Championship at Jim Carroll Stadium in Savannah, Tenn.

Georgetown College is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Three-time NAIA National Player of the Year Eddie Eviston threw for 188 yards and a pair of touchdowns in leading the Tigers to victory. Eviston also earned NAIA Offensive Player of the Game honors for his performance.

Georgetown, the No. 1 ranked team in the NAIA, finished the year with a perfect 14-0 record for the second straight year, running its winning streak to 28 games. Sioux Falls had its 10-game winning streak snapped with the loss. The Cougars end the year at 12-2.

In claiming the title, Georgetown is the first NAIA school to win consecutive national championships since Carson-Newman College accomplished the feat in NAIA Division I and Westminster College did the same in NAIA Division II in 1988-89. This is the Tigers’ third NAIA national championship, having also earned the title in 1991.

“I’ve been proud of our kids all season long, and I’m really proud of them today,” said Georgetown head coach Bill Cronin, who also guided the Tigers to the 1999 NAIA championship contest. “This was a goal we set for ourselves, and we achieved that. I’m proud of the focus we showed this year.”

Georgetown struck first on a 13-yard run by sophomore running back Ryan Payne six minutes into the game. Sioux Falls answered right back as senior quarterback Dax Michelena connected with senior wide receiver Zach Rutten on a 20-yard scoring pass to tie the game at 7-7.

The teams traded touchdowns early in the second quarter before the Tigers took command late in the period. A one-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Jason Tenkman gave Georgetown a 20-13 lead with 3:15 left in the quarter. With 24 seconds remaining until halftime, Eviston hooked up with senior wide receiver Brandon Midkiff on a 35-yard scoring pass to extend the margin to 28-13 at intermission.

The Tigers added two more scores in the third quarter, highlighted by a 51-yard touchdown run from Derrick White, to pull away to a 42-20 lead. Eviston complete 16-of-28 pass attempts, and added 25 yards on the ground. Eviston’s favorite target was Derrick White, who caught four passes for 51 yards. Payne led the Tigers with 78 yards rushing on 20 attempts.

For Sioux Falls, Michelena was 16-for-40 on the day for 232 yards. He also threw for a pair of touchdowns. Rutten grabbed six passes for a game-high 140 yards. Junior running back Nick Kortan led the Cougars with a game-high 85 yards on 21 carries.

Georgetown’s B.J. Mattingly notched NAIA Defensive Player-of-the-Game honors by recording 11 tackles, including eight solos. He added three pass break-ups and a sack.

The 76 points scored by Georgetown and Sioux Falls are the most combined points in an NAIA final since East Central University defeated Glenville State College in the 1993 NAIA Division I championship game, 49-35. The 49 points scored by Georgetown are also a school record for a championship game.

Georgetown becomes the ninth team in NAIA history to win back-to-back titles and the first in 12 years. The Tigers complete their second consecutive perfect season at 14-0 and move to 41-1 in the past three seasons combined.

Senior quarterback Eddie Eviston finishes his collegiate career in third place all-time with 12,703 total offensive yards in his career. Eviston finished 204 yards behind first-place Jon Kitna and just 64 shy of second-place Kirk Baumgartner.

Senior kicker Kevin Davis finishes his Georgetown career as the all-time PAT leader. Davis was 5-of-6 on Saturday, bringing his four-year total to 234 career point-after attempts.

Tiger seniors include: Derek Potter, Nic Winters, Stoye Young, Eddie Eviston, Michael Caba, Kevin Davis, Matt McHale, Dan Woolley, Josh Pniewski, Hunter Ballard, Walt Delong, Joey Vicini Brandon Midkiff, Tony Steele, Paul Habas and former Tiger and current student assistant coach, Jason Skirvin.

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