LANGSTON — The No. 7 Langston Lions perfect season came to a close on Saturday as they fell to the No. 10 Northwestern Red Raiders 55-7 in the first round of the NAIA Football Championship Series.
The loss puts a cap on a remarkable season for the Langston Lions and second-year head coach Quinton Morgan as they clinched the Central States Football League title, hosted the first home playoff game in school history and became the first team since 1973 to finish the regular season undefeated.
“I told our team to keep their heads up, we accomplished a huge milestone here at Langston University,” Morgan said. “These kids are now a part of history at Langston. It’s not how we wanted to finish the season but I’m very proud with what they’ve done throughout the season.”
The Lions were making their seventh postseason appearance in the NAIA and fall to 2-7 overall in NAIA championship series history; the Red Raiders were making their 19th NAIA championship appearance and improve to 21-16 all-time in the playoffs.
From the outset, the Red Raiders set the tempo by scoring on their first two drives of the game which ended with a three-yard run by Tyson Kooima and a 14-yard scoring run by Jacob Kalogonis to give Northwestern a 14-0 advantage at the 3:40 mark in the first quarter.
Red Raiders head coach Matt McCarty emphasized throughout the week the need for a quick start.
“We were able to get Jacob (Kalogonis) going early and he was able to bust some big runs early,” McCarty noted. “That was big for him and that was big for our confidence, we got that early lead with the wind so we were able to let our defense play fast and attack.”
The Red Raiders tacked on one more touchdown before halftime when Kooima hooked up with Kalogonis for a 42-yard scoring strike to cap a seven-play, 81-yard drive.
Northwestern built a 45-0 advantage before the Lions hit pay dirt following a 14-yard touchdown run by Timothy Whitfield at the 9:43 mark in the fourth quarter.
Kooima finished 16-for-22 for 196 yards with two touchdown tosses; he picked up 18 yards on the ground with two touchdowns as well.
Lowe led the Langston aerial attack and finished 13-for-22 for 73 yards with one interception; he picked up 47 yards on 14 carries.
Kalogonis led Northwestern with 140 yards on 25 carries and one touchdown; Whitfield finished with 64 yards on eight carries and one score.
Northwestern (10-1) advances to the second of the NAIA Football Championship Series.
Langston (10-1) concludes their season at 10-1 overall.
Courtesy: Langston Athletics