SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – As the #1 Morningside Mustangs offense took the field for their opening series versus Carroll College in the first round of the NAIA playoffs, many fans had one question: where’s A.P. Ponder?
The school’s all time leading rusher was nowhere to be found during the team’s match-up with the Saints. No one would say where he was, just that they were focused on what the team’s new starting tailback, senior Anthony Sims, was doing.
That said, Sims is a little better than your average back-up running back. The senior from Fort Lauderdale, Florida finished with 570 or more rushing yards in each of the last three seasons, while also combining for 30 touchdowns in that same timespan. His numbers were better then many team’s starters, and yet because he played behind one of the nation’s top rushers in Ponder, many haven’t realized how strong he’s been.
Ponder’s day as the team’s feature back started rough, though. A fumble on Carroll’s 11 yard line on the Mustang’s opening drive may have given some pause to fans, but not head coach Steve Ryan. The longtime Morningside coach continued to give his new workhorse the ball, and it paid off. Sims rushed 20 total times for 137 yards, and three touchdowns to lead the Mustangs to a 55-0 victory.
After the game Ryan was quick to point out how he knew that Sims was a great running back for years, but being that his role was a back-up one, saw his sacrifice as something the team needed.
The Mustangs host #7 Baker on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the second round of the NAIA playoffs.