NFF Presents Divisional Championship Trophies at AFCA Convention

Courtesy of the National Football Foundation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In front of more than 1,500 coaches at the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn., NFF Director of Membership Ron Dilatush presented the National Football Foundation’s divisional national championship trophies to the coaches of the 2016 winning teams last Monday.

“Each year at the AFCA convention, the NFF presents the championship trophies to the coaches who have taken their teams to the pinnacle of success,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “It is fitting that we present the trophies in front of their peers, the very people who know the commitment, dedication and effort that goes into winning a national championship. We are extremely proud to join with AFCA Executive Director Todd Berry and AFCA Executive Director Emeritus Grant Teaff, a member of the NFF Board and a College Football Hall of Fame coach, to continue this tradition of honoring the nation’s most successful coaches each year at the convention.”

NCAA Football Championship Subdivision
John F. Kennedy Trophy
James Madison University
Mike Houston

In his first year as James Madison’s head coach, Mike Houston led the Dukes (14-1) to a 28-14 victory over Youngstown State (12-4) for the 2016 NCAA Division I Football Championship in Frisco, Texas. The Dukes, undefeated against FCS foes this season, saw their defensive line hold the Penguins to 292 total yards and just 21 rushing yards after YSU entered the contest averaging 257.5 yards on the ground. Nine different players had at least three tackles for the Dukes, and the defense forced a pair of crucial turnovers in the third quarter to put the game away. Senior running back Khalid Abdullah rushed 26 times for 101 yards and a pair of scores for an afternoon that put him atop the JMU record books in career touchdowns, single-season touchdowns and single-season rushing yards. Junior quarterback Bryan Schor went 7-of-12 for 112 yards with a pair of first-quarter touchdowns. JMU claimed its second FCS title in program history, having previously won in 2004.

NCAA Division II
Asa S. Bushnell Trophy
Northwest Missouri State University
Coach Adam Dorrel

Coach Adam Dorrel and Northwest Missouri State (15-0) claimed the school’s sixth Division II title Dec. 17, defeating North Alabama (11-2), 29-3, under heavy snow in Kansas City, Kan. The Bearcats are currently in the midst of a school-record 30-game winning streak that includes back-to-back national titles. This year’s Northwest Missouri State senior class has experienced three national championships and compiled a remarkable 55-2 record in four seasons. Junior wide receiver Randy Schmidt turned in a memorable performance, rushing for a game-high 96 yards and completing five passes, one of which went for the first touchdown of the game. Playing with a sore shoulder, senior quarterback Kyle Zimmerman threw for 100 yards and a touchdown while senior running back Phil Jackson ran for 76 yards and two touchdowns. The Bearcats defense was impressive, holding North Alabama to only 20 total yards in the second half, and senior defensive end Cass Weitl set a new championship game record with 4.5 tackles for loss. Dorrel is now the head coach at Abilene Christian.

NCAA Division III

Amos Alonzo Stagg Trophy
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas)
Coach Pete Fredenburg

Coach Pete Fredenburg and Mary Hardin-Baylor (15-0) closed out a 19-year journey by winning the first National Championship in program history with a 10-7 victory over Wisconsin-Oshkosh (13-2) in Stagg Bowl XLIV on Dec. 16 in Salem, Va. The Cru led 10-7 at halftime and limited the Titans to just 76 yards of offense in the second half. UMHB sealed the victory when senior linebacker Matt Cody, who also had a team-high 10 tackles, intercepted a pass on fourth-and-ten at the Cru 22-yard line with 35 seconds left in the game. Senior quarterback Blake Jackson earned Most Outstanding Player honors, leading UMHB with 119 rushing yards and a touchdown on 28 carries while completing 16 passes for 171 yards. The Cru’s perfect 15-0 record is a school and conference record for single-season victories. Appearing in its second national title game in school history, UMHB has made 15 postseason appearances in just 19 years of existence, all under coach Fredenburg.


Dwight D. Eisenhower Trophy
University of Saint Francis (Ind.)
Coach Kevin Donley

Coach Kevin Donley claimed Saint Francis’ (13-1) first-ever national title with an impressive 38-17 victory over previously undefeated Baker (Kan.) (14-1) on Dec. 17 in Daytona Beach, Fla. NAIA All-America wide receiver Seth Coate led the way for the Cougars, hauling in nine catches for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Coate was named the Offensive Player of the Game and set the NAIA’s single-season receiving touchdowns record (25) in the process. Junior quarterback Nick Ferrerthrew for 245 passing yards and three touchdowns while sophomore running back Justin Green rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Senior defensive lineman Lucas Sparks was named Defensive Player of the Game after tallying six tackles, including 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks, and also forcing and recovering a fumble.

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