By: Donnie Smith/NAIA Athletics
GRAMBLING, La. — [BOX SCORE] Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) claimed its first NAIA Football Championship Series title with a dominant win over Northwestern (Iowa) at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium.
Cameron Dukes had touchdown runs of one, two, and three yards to power the Blue Raiders to a 45-13 victory to complete their undefeated season with an 11-0 record.
“It’s just very surreal I’m so proud of our kids,” said Lindsey Wilson coach Chris Oliver. “It’s been 11 years; this has been our baby and it’s come a long way. So many alums before these guys came and helped build this thing and its really special.”
Lindsey Wilson got off to a fast start with a 75-yard scoring drive on 13-plays that was finished off by Dukes for his first TD run of the day at the 4:48 mark of the first. A 33-yard field goal with 12:21 left in the second quarter put the Blue Raiders up 10-0, and it was 17-0 with 7:13 left after a 41-yard touchdown run by Noel Patterson.
Northwestern (11-2) had just 35 yards of total offense until a 17-play, 75-yard drive in the second quarter that ate up 7:02 and resulted in a one-yard touchdown pass from Blake Fryar to Konner McQuillan on 4th-and-1 with 11 seconds left in the half.
The Blue Raiders came flying out of the halftime locker room and started the third quarter with an eight-play, 61-yard drive that ended with Dukes’ second TD run of the game from two yards out, then extended the lead to 31-7 with a three-yard run by Kobe Belcher just 3:06 later.
Fryar, making his first career start, found Shane Solberg for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds left to cut the deficit to 18. Fryar finished 22-of-32 passing for 157 yards and two scores. Cade Moser was his top target with six catches for 54 yards.
Defensively, the Blue Raiders limited the Red Raiders to 231 yards on 64 plays. On the same number of snaps, LWC amassed 347 yards, an average of 5.4 yards per game. Michael Leslie had a team-best nine tackles and was in on one of five Blue Raider sacks.
Dukes scored from three yards out with 7:53 left in the game to conclude a 14-play drive that ate up nearly eight minutes to go up 38-13.
“Cameron is a special player, special kid, and is a high-character guy,” said Oliver. “Once we recruited him the rest took care of itself and he makes us proud.”
The senior quarterback was 18-of-24 passing for 157 yards and rushed for an additional 18 yards and was sacked just once.
“We just stuck together, trusted the process of going 1-0 and that’s what we did tonight,” said Dukes. “I trust the guys around me and blocking for me, and it makes it easy when they are knocking guys down in front of me.”
Junior back Darius Clark paced the Blue Raider ground game with 70 yards on just four carries. Jaylen Boyd had 16 carries for 34 yards.