ROME, Ga. – Quarterback Gary Wagner had an 83-yard touchdown run, Tom Yaremko kicked a 22-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter and Carroll College beat Sioux Falls 10-7 on Saturday in the NAIA championship game, snapping the Cougars’ winning streak at 42 games.
Yaremko, who missed twice early, gave Carroll (14-0) the lead with 7:47 remaining, capping a 15-play drive, and the Saints avoided overtime when Braden Wieking’s 46-yard try sailed wide left with 3.5 seconds left.
It was the final NAIA game for Sioux Falls, which is moving to NCAA Division II. The Cougars (14-1) won the previous two championships, beating Carroll 23-7 in 2008.
Wagner, the offensive player of the game, was 12 of 21 for 107 yards passing. Sioux Falls linebacker Eric Anderson was in one 17 tackles and was selected the defensive player of the game.
Sioux Falls and Carroll have combined to win nine straight NAIA titles. Carroll won from 2002-2005 and again in 2007, beating Sioux Falls. Sioux Falls won in 1996, 2006 and the past two years.
Wagner broke Jordan Carlson’s tackle and outran the Sioux Falls secondary with 8:47 left in the second quarter to put Carroll ahead. Sioux Falls tied it with 3:02 left in the half on Jordan Taylor’s 1-yard run that finished off a 63-yard, 11-play drive.
Ted Morigeau recovered Jon Eastman’s fumble midway through the third quarter, but Carroll couldn’t take advantage of the game’s only turnover. The Saints were able to mount a fourth-quarter drive, though, and Yaremko hit the deciding field goal.
Sioux Falls got to the Carroll 31 after the field goal, but Brian Strobel sacked Eastman on second down and two passes were then incomplete.
Eastman completed three passes in the final minute after the Cougars got the ball back, but Wieking missed the potential tying field goal.
Sioux Falls’ 42-game winning streak tied the NAIA record set by Texas A&I — now Texas A&M-Kingsville — in the 1970s. The Cougars were 55-2 the last four seasons, the only other loss to Carroll in the 2007 title game.
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