SIOUX CITY, IOWA (KCAU)- After touching down on the East Coast around 9 p.m. last night, Northwestern College football is officially dancing in Durham, North Carolina.

There are a ton of exciting events in store for NAIA Championship Week and a little colder than expected. But, that is not stopping the Red Raiders who went right to work for day one this morning for their first practice towards their 2nd NAIA national title game in three years.

The Red Raiders locking horns with Keiser for the pair’s first all-time meeting in the national championship, and the Orange City bunch won’t have to look far for motivation after their runner up finish in 2020. Home to the 2nd best offense and top-5 defense in the nation, the Red Raiders will have a plethora of playmakers ready to make an impact.

Sophomore dual-threat quarterback Jalyn Gramstad leads all NAIA QB’s this season with 42 rushing touchdowns, while his top target in Michael Storey comes in averaging 15.2 yards per catch. Senior linebacker and GPAC Defensive Player of the year Parker Fryar dominates the defensive front, notching his 3rd straight season of more than 100 tackles.

But though it’ll be a week of fun events away from the field, the team isn’t forgetting it’s mission on it, pursuing its goal of their first Red Banner in 39 years.

“It’s an awesome trip and a great experience and I think we just want to continue to remind our guys of the purpose of the trip and it’s to win a football game on Saturday. I think our guys do a great job of understanding that and having fun when we’re not at football, but when we’re in meetings and we’re at practice being locked in and ready to work,” Northwestern head coach Matt McCarty said.

“We’re a really flexible team. We work well when conditions and things may not be the same so just being able to be flexible and work around schedules and being able to stay focused,” Red Raiders’ senior wide receiver Michael Storey added.

“It’s really special to have another chance to come back here and compete. It’s awesome to have that experience on the big stage. I’m excited for all the guys and it’s gonna be a lot of fun,” Northwestern senior free safety Noah Van’t Hof emphasized.