UMHB will be celebrating their second Division III National Championship win Thursday, Jan. 31, after their third consecutive trip to the Stagg Bowl.
The UMHB Crusaders met the University of Mount Union from Alliance, Ohio for the second time on Dec. 14, and won back the trophy.
The Crusaders spent the majority of the season unmatched by their opponents, winning the majority of their games by a landslide. The closest score gap of the season was Dec. 1’s playoff game against St. John’s University, where the Crusaders achieved a three-point win over the Johnnies. The largest score gap of the season was the very first game on Sept. 15, when the Cru traveled to Reading, Pennsylvania to defeat the Albright College Lions by 84 points.
Despite their promising winning streak, the Crusaders still played every game with skill and spirit. This was partially because Mount Union kept a zero on the Crusader scoreboard at the 2017 national champion- ship. This year, UMHB was out to prove that they could defeat this strong rival.
The desire to rise to the championship again and redeem themselves seemed to be great motivation for the Cru, as they started off the season with a huge win over Albright College. This motivation carried on throughout the season, and the team was undefeated going into the championship.
However, achieving the national title would be no easy feat. The Crusaders were set for a rematch against the Mount Union Purple Raiders in Shenandoah. Michael Carpenter, a former running back for the Crusaders, felt that this year, UMHB had to prove themselves as they headed into the championship.
“After coming up short like they did last year, they definitely had something to prove,” Carpenter said. “I think you always have something to prove, though.”
UMHB definitely succeeded in proving themselves with a 24-16 victory over Mount Union.
On the night of the game, the stands were packed. Because tickets for UMHB fans hadsold out quickly, Crusader fans filled both sidesof the stadium, despite the cold weather.
The game started off in Mount Union’s favor, and the first quarter ended with a score of 10-7 with the opponent in the lead. By halftime, however, UMHB had stepped up their game, and they took the lead with a score of 13-14.
At the end of the third quarter, the Cru hadimproved their score to 17-13, and by the end of the game, the final score was 24-16.
In the final seconds of the game, the stadium erupted. Fans were ecstatic that the Crusaders had won their second title in three years. Players and coaches gathered on the field to accept their trophy and celebrate their win together.
If you were unable to attend the game or if you want to join in another celebration, UMHB will be hosting a celebration for the team’s victory on Jan. 31 in the Frank and Sue MaybornCampus Center from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The first 1,000 to enter get a commemorative poster signed by the team and the coaches. The trophy will also be on display, and there will be door prizes throughout the night.