CANTON, OH - Nov. 17, 2012 (School Release) - The Macon State College Blue Storm rose to the occasion on Club Division College Football's biggest stage, saving their finest performance for their most formidable opponent in Canton, Ohio. In the football capital of America, just a stroll away from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and in the presence of the Heisman Trophy, the National Championship of Collegiate Club Football was decided on the gridiron for the first time in the modern era.
In a battle of teams unbeaten against Club Division opponents, Macon bested the defending National Champion Southwestern Connecticut Grizzlies in a display of gritty, fundamentally sound football and mistake-free execution. Macon's opportunism and ability to seize the moment was evident from early on. The game's first turnover was a SWC fumble as QB David James was hit while attempting an option pitch. The forced error led to a short drive culminating in a tough goal line stand by the Grizzly defense who appeared to have held as they forced a 4th and goal from the 4 yard line. Macon State Coach Dustan Jump elected to go for the score, and QB John Rader appeared to hand the ball off - instead Rader darted through a crease in the middle of the line, plunging into the end zone for an early 7-0 lead.
The defenses both seemed to battle evenly in the first half until Rader again escaped on a keeper, weaving through the line and dashing down the sideline for a 66 yard gain. This set up a second Rader TD run in the last minutes of the first half staking Macon to a surprising 13-0 lead in a relatively evenly played game. The explosive Grizzlies offense, determined to cut into that margin before halftime, gambled and lost, as a deep throw was intercepted and run back 45 yards into their territory by Xavier Morris with only 38 seconds left in the half. With the ball at the 26 yard line, Coach Jump brought in wildcat QB Jamel Hickey. Hickey tried to sweep around the end with the Grizzly defense pursuing him all the way to the sideline before he uncorked an arching strike to the back corner of the endzone where Kevin Myles made the TD catch. This sudden turn of events dealt a devastating blow to the defending champs, sending them into the half with a 19-0 deficit to overcome.
In the second half, SW Conn. continued looking for explosive plays and thought they had one, when a long, weaving catch and run by Delroy Morris was called back due to a clipping penalty, one of several untimely penalties committed by the Grizzlies on the day. After that play the tight Macon defense, led by 3 sack from DE Kiara Jones refused to let them back in the game. Meanwhile, the Grizzly defense had managed to keep dangerous Macon runner, Jamel Jones under control much of the day, until Jones exploded on them in the 4th quarter, breaking and dodging tackles enroute to a 17 yard TD run, putting the Blue Storm up by a stunning 27-0 margin in the final period. The Grizzlies finally erupted in answer to that score as David James hit speedster Tremayne Barnes with a 49 yard TD pass. The conversion was run in by James, closing the gap to 27-8, giving the Grizzlies a last glimmer of hope, but the hard-hitting Macon State defense slammed the door closed the rest of the way.
In the end, both teams shared the experience of a lifetime. Club level teams were able to participate in a true, traditional Bowl weekend, with players and coaches had photos taken with the Heisman Trophy, Super Bowl Rings, as well as the Lombardi Trophy and the many other wonders within the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The game was viewed by fans in Canton, coming from as far as Sweden to see the game, as well as on streaming online video by fans from around the country.