DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA (KCAU) – Morningside football were Dancing in Durham at the start of the week, but now they’re celebrating in Durham after defeating Grand View 38-28 for their third national title in four years. For a team who’s been 54-1 the past two seasons, the Mustangs capped off their dominance Saturday night, once again becoming the kings of the NAIA gridiron to finish off their 14-0 undefeated season.

A 30 yard touchdown pass from Viking quarterback Johnny Sullivan gave Grand View the first score of the game, but Mustang senior running back Anthony Sims gave Morningside the equalizer with an eight yard touchdown to tie it up. Sims would do it again later on punching his way in from one yard out to give Morningside their first lead of the game, 14-7.

The Grand View defense though began to deflate an impenetrable Mustang offense, picking off Joe Dolincheck twice in the first half, with the second interception leading to a Sullivan strike to Bennett Spray in the corner for the 10 yard touchdown, extending their lead to 21-14.

But Morningside didn’t stay down for long as NAIA Player of the Year and Mustang senior quarterback got redemption with 20 seconds left in the half finding senior receiver Austin Johnson as the 11 yard score knotted things up at 21 heading into the break.

Grand View started off the second half with an early spark as Vikings’ Allie Scott rumbled his way through the goal line from one yard out, regaining the 28-21 lead for Grand View. But after a four yard touchdown from Sims to tie it at 28, Dolincheck would come up with his biggest throw of the night in the 4th quarter, hitting his go-to connection Mustang senior receiver Reid Jurgensmeier 34 yards, as Morningside reclaimed the 35-28 with under 10 minutes left in regulation.

The Vikings had the ball on their own 29 yard line and decided to take a chance going for it on 4th down with under 5 minutes to play, but Mustang junior defensive back Lonell Boyd Jr. came up with the unit’s biggest stop of the game after stifling Ali Scott short of the first down, forcing a huge turnover for the Mustangs.

Mustang Junior kicker Chase Carter would seal the deal soon after with a 26 yard field goal, creating a 38-28 Maroon cushion, and it would be enough with Morningside coming away as the 2021 NAIA football national champions.

“What an incredible fight these guys have and that’s the thing about these guys they’ve never quit they’ve never let up and for that I’m truly proud of them,” Morningside football head coach Steve Ryan said.

“The end goal was to win a national championship as a team and it means everything, it means everything to my guys and then Reid Jurgensmeier and guys on offense there’s so many guys you can talk about but it means the most to those guys that they’re going out on top,” Morningside senior quarterback Joe Dolincheck said.

“Just an un-dreamable career,” Morningside senior wide receiver Reid Jurgensmeier said. “I came to Morningside to winchampionships but at that point they never won a championship and to think I’m down here five years later three times a champion.”

“I don’t think I could end my career any better especially with my family here this whole football team is my family,” Morningside senior running back Anthony Sims said.

Sims was the Offensive Player of the Game finishing with 145 rushing yards on 27 carries. Jalen Portis was named the Defensive Player of the Game after making five tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble, leading a defense that limited the Vikings to 324 total yards.