LIONS FOOTBALL FINISHES SEASON AS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RUNNER UP
The Lions who were for most of the season the DIII #1 ranked team in the nation until they eventually went down to being the #3 ranked team. However, they were selected to play in the 2021 NJCAA Division III Football Championship at the Red Grange Bowl game in Glen Ellyn, IL. The Lions were set to face the #1 ranked College of Dupage Chaparrals, a rematch of their regular season matchup that saw the Lions win 17-15. The game started with the Lions stopping a Dupage drive forcing them to punt however the Lions first drive would be cut short due to a lost fumble giving Dupage excellent field position. The Lions defense would hold however forcing the Dupage to punt which pinned the Lions on their own three yard line. After a three and out Dupage had the ball on the Lions 46 yard line, with their drive starting on the Lions half of the field Dupage managed to push the Lions defense back eventually would run the ball in getting on the board first. Both teams would exchange drives and opportunities when halfway through the second quarter a Dupage punt was returned by Ka'Shaun Parris to set the Lions up around midfield. After a pass and a few rushes that managed to grab chunks of yards at a time the Lions saw themselves on the Dupage 16-yard line. The Lions were looking to score when a Dupage forced fumble saw them gain possession and prevent the Lions from scoring, then just three plays into their drive with one minute left in the first half Dupage was able to break off a long rushing touchdown putting them up 14 points, the Lions would enter halftime down by a score of 0-14. The Lions were set to have the ball first coming out of the half, with the second half kickoff going out of bounds the Lions started their drive on their own 35-yard line. After a Jermaine Williams rush and two incomplete passes the Lions were set to put the ball however it was blocked and recovered by Dupage giving them the ball on the Lions 20-yard line, Dupage would score just four plays later. After a large kick return from Ka'Shaun Parris the Lions began their drive on the 50-yard line. After a few plays and a Dupage penalty Michael Batton would connect on a pass to John Beaubrun for a 16-yard touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff Dupage would manage to return it for a touchdown immediately answering the Lions and bringing the score to 7-28 in Dupage's favor. After an exchange of punts the Lions saw another opportunity with a drive starting the Dupage 43 yard line, just two plays into the drive Michael Batton completed a 34-yard touchdown to Maurice Teachey to bring the score to 14-28. On the ensuing Dupage drive Luca Salerno would force a fumble that would be recovered Junius Keys, the following Nassau possession would however end with them punting. Then in the fifth play into their new drive, Keshaun Jones would force another Dupage fumble that would be recovered by Shakeer McPhers just before the end of the third quarter. This time however the Lions would execute on this opportunity as two plays after connecting for a 30-yard pass to Maurice Teachey, Michael Batton would score for the Lions on a four yard rush to now bring the score to 20-28 after a blocked PAT. Dupage would then punt on their next possession giving the Lions the ball back on their 28-yard line, where after 8 lays Michael Batton would complete a 35-yard touchdown pass to Ka'Shaun Parris to bring the score to 26-28 after a failed two point conversion attempt. Dupage then had possession and were looking to convert on a pivotal third down when Keshaun Jones managed to sack the quarterback for a 10 yard loss and meaning the Lions would get the ball back. The Lions started on their 37-yard line and on the sixth play of the drive Michael Batton connected with John Beaubrun for a 33-yard reception to bring the Lions to the Dupage 25-yard line. After a series of plays and timeouts the Lions were on the Dupage 11-yard line when Joshua Arevalo connected on a 28-yard field goal to put the Lions ahead 29-28 with 40 seconds left in the game. After the kick return Dupage would start their drive on their own 44-yard line with 34 seconds left. After a rushing play and Lions penalty Dupage managed to connect on a 33-yard touchdown pass giving the the lead after a failed conversion 29-34. After the Nasssau kick return the Lions were on their 29-yard line. The following pass attempt as the game clock expired was intercepted and sealed the Lions defeat by the score of 29-34.
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