St. Xavier wins NAIA title, beating Carroll 24-20ROME, Ga. — Jimmy Coy accounted for 294 yards and two touchdowns, Mark Williams knocked down a fourth-down pass in the end zone with 2 minutes left and St. Xavier won its first NAIA title with a 24-20 victory over defending champion Carroll on Saturday.
ROME, Ga. — Jimmy Coy accounted for 294 yards and two touchdowns, Mark Williams knocked down a fourth-down pass in the end zone with 2 minutes left and St. Xavier won its first NAIA title with a 24-20 victory over defending champion Carroll on Saturday.
Coy, a senior transfer from NCAA Division II Valdosta State, completed 28 of 43 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 78 yards and a score on 16 carries. He was selected the offensive player of the game.
St. Xavier (14-1) was making its first championship appearance after losing in the semifinals three of the past four years. The loss kept Carroll (13-2) from a seventh title, which would have tied the NAIA record.
Jared Mayernik returned the second-half kickoff 94 yards to give Carroll its only lead. But the Saints missed the extra point and St. Xavier drove 67 yards to go back ahead on K.J. Franklin's 4-yard run early in the third quarter.
St. Xavier couldn't take advantage of a bad punt snap, with Tom Lynch missing a 20-yard field goal attempt midway in the third quarter and it looked as if that might be costly when Carroll drove from its 18 to the St. Xavier 9 late in the fourth quarter. But Dane Broadhead couldn't connect on four pass attempts, the last one batted down by freshman Williams.
St. Xavier linebacker Patrick Appino was selected the defensive player of the game as the Cougars held Carroll's Chance Demarais, the NAIA player of the year, to 57 yards on 21 carries.
Carroll came in having given up just 17 points in three playoffs victories, but St. Xavier matched that it the first half while amassing 224 yards and taking a three-point lead.
Coy, who completed his first nine throws, was 18 of 26 passing for 113 yards and a touchdown in the first half, and also had 62 yards rushing and a score.
After settling for a 20-yard field goal from Lynch to cap an 81-yard march following the opening kickoff, St. Xavier marched 95 yards the next time it got the ball and went up 10-0 on Coy's 8-yard run.
Tom Yaremko missed on 42-yard field-goal attempt for Carroll early in the second quarter, but the Saints drove 62 yards the next time they had the ball and cut into the lead on Broadhead's 20-yard TD pass to Matt Ritter with 5:17 left in the half.
After a 43-yard kickoff return by Wes Gastel, St. Xavier pushed its lead back to 10 points on Coy's 11-yard TD pass to Shane Zackery with 1:22 left in the second quarter. But Carroll quickly struck back, making it 17-14 on Broadhead's 26-yard throw to Anthony Clarke with 43 seconds left in the half. The Saints went 57 yards in just four plays.
Broadhead completed 11 of 13 passes for 145 yards and the two scores in the first half as St. Xavier keyed on Demarais, who was held to 30 yards on 12 carries.