After four straight defeats in the CIAA championship game, the Fayetteville State Broncos ended their drought, defeating the Chowan Hawks 31-28 and claiming their first conference title since 2009. The Broncos sealed the win with a go-ahead 43-yard field goal by senior kicker Elton Andrew.
Fayetteville State quarterback Demari Daniels was named the game’s MVP, recording 188 passing yards along with 43 rushing yards and scoring two touchdowns.
His top two receivers, Braxton Knotts and Barry Elliott, combined to catch seven passes for 168 yards, scoring a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Chowan quarterback Rashad McKee was named the MVP for his team, totaling 266 passing yards completing 74% of his passes, and scoring a rushing touchdown.
Running back Nijere Peoples also played well for the Hawks compiling 65 rushing yards on 16 attempts and scoring three of the team’s four total touchdowns.
This game was akin to a heavyweight boxing match, with both teams trading big plays on all facets back and forth to the very end.
Both teams started hot on offense ending the first quarter tied 14-14 but in two completely different ways. While Fayetteville State used defensive stops and a huge kick return to set up their two offensive touchdowns, Chowan methodically drove the ball downfield, compiling 162 yards of total offense in the first period.
The second quarter was a much different story, with both defenses beginning to settle into making the necessary plays to get the offenses off the field.
Despite some minor turbulence that nearly saw Chowan turn the ball over on a forced fumble, they were able to cap off a sustained drive putting six points on the board to take a 21-14 lead into halftime.
Both teams had their own respective long-winded offensive drives in the third quarter, but only the Broncos could capitalize, tying the game up 21-21 entering the fourth.
In the fourth quarter, the game became much more intense, with multiple plays ending in pushing and shoving from both sides.
The fans got involved in the action and stood the entire time, giving their team as much motivation as the game entered crunch time.
Neither team let the extracurricular activity affect them putting up touchdowns on back-to-back drives to make the score 28-28 with 4:51 remaining in the game.
The Fayetteville State defense contained Chowan forcing them to punt. On the play, Chowan was flagged for kick-catching interference placing the Broncos in Hawks territory.
A 14-yard pass connection from Daniels to Cameron Harrington put the Broncos in the perfect position to kick the game-winning field goal.
The Broncos will now await word on whether or not they have qualified for selection into the Division II playoffs. Before this game, FSU was on the outside looking in on the Super Region II Regional Rankings.
Should Fayetteville State not make it to the DII playoffs, they would be the first CIAA champion that was not selected since Winston-Salem State in 2015.