MCKINNEY, TEXAS – Sixteen weeks of DII football are officially in the books. Two undefeated teams entered McKinney ISD Stadium, and when 60-minutes of intense record-setting football action concluded, Valdosta State won its fourth national championship, defeating Ferris State 49-47.
Valdosta State entered the game with DII football’s top scoring offense, scoring 52.2 points per game. The Blazers certainly delivered with their potent attack. After missing a field goal on their opening drive, the Blazers reeled off seven-straight touchdowns on their next seven drives before punting for the first time with 9:05 left in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Rogan Wells led the way. The Harlon Hill finalist set the championship game record, responsible for six touchdowns. The Blazers set the team net passing yard record with 374 yards. Wells threw for 349 yards and five touchdowns and caught a 25-yard touchdown on a thrilling little trick play in the fourth quarter.
Speaking of trick plays, Ferris State opened things up on its very first play of the game. A double-pass saw receiver Jevon Shaw toss it to Keyondre Craig for an 80-yard catch and run to the end zone, the longest in championship game history. On the very next drive, the Bulldogs made history yet again as Jackson Dieterle connected on a 52-yard field goal, breaking the previous record of 50 set in 1984.
Here are some more of the intriguing numbers and records from the 2018 DII football championship game:
- This is the third championship Valdosta State won on the date of Dec. 15
- Two Harlon Hill finalists faced off at quarterback. One, Jayru Campbell, won the Award while Wells won the championship.
- Wells also tied the record for touchdown passes thrown in a game with five.
- There was not one, but two trick plays in the game, each one going for a touchdown.
- Ferris State's 47 points were the most ever by a national runner-up in regulation.
- The was the first-ever meeting between Ferris State and Valdosta State.
- This was the third-straight season a Gulf South Conference team was in the championship game. The Blazers finally won as North Alabama and West Florida finished runners-up in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
The teams exchanged blows to the final whistle. An interception by Alex Brown in the third quarter put the Blazers ahead by two scores and helped them hang on despite Ferris State hanging around by scoring on one of the wildest plays in DII championship game lore.
Records were broken, stat sheets were filled, and Valdosta State and Ferris State combined in one of the highest scoring games in championship game history. At the end of the day, the Blazers walked away the 2018 DII football national champions, winning their fourth championship since 2004.
Be sure to scroll down in the blog below for all the championship game highlights.