Saint Xavier held on to defeat Carroll, 24-20, in the NAIA National Championship game.
Check back with RN-T.com later for a game story.
The fourth quarter is under way in the NAIA Championship game.
Carroll opened the third quarter with a 64-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Jared Mayernik to take the lead for the first time in the game, 20-17.
Saint Xavier reclaimed the lead on its next drive when K.J. Franklin scored on a 4-yard run for a 24-20 score.
Saint Xavier increased its lead to 17-7 with 1:22 left in the first half, when Jimmy Coy hit Shane Zackery on an 11-yard touchdown pass, but Carroll retaliated a minute later to bring the score to 17-14. Dane Broadhead hit Anthony Clarke on a 26-yard TD pass with :39 left in the half.
Carroll's Dane Broadhead Passed to Matt Ritter with 5:17 left in the first half to cut Saint Xavier's lead to 10-7.
Saint Xavier increased its lead to 10-0 on an 8-yard pass with less than two minutes left in the first quarter.
Saint Xavier jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a 20-yard field goal by Tom Lynch, which capped the game's opening drive.
After weeks of anticipation and buildup, the NAIA Championship game is under way at Barron Stadium.
The contest between the Saint Xavier Cougars (13-1) and Carroll College Saints (13-1) had a 4:35 p.m. kickoff.
Gates opened at Barron Stadium at 2:30 p.m., and fans were lined up outside the venue to be among the first ones inside.
Fans like Vicki Rooney said they were enjoying Rome while waiting for the big game to start.
"We've had an awesome time. The most thing we’ve enjoyed is the hospitality in Rome," said Rooney. "We've hungered for this for so long. I don’t even know a word to describe it."
Carroll fans Wendy Siegersma said they were looking forward to a big game this evening between the two teams, who faced each other in the 2010 semifinals game that propelled Carroll past Sioux Falls for the championship last year.
"Everyone's pulling for each other and each other's kids. We've enjoyed walking in the downtown," Siegersma said. "There's some beautiful stores there and some really nice people. The people who work in the restaurants and stores are really friendly and welcoming.
Carroll’s Fighting Saints (13-1) enter the game ranked No. 2 in the nation and as the defending champions after winning the title last season at Barron Stadium.
Yet despite winning six titles in the last 10 years, Carroll head coach Mike Van Diest has compared his team’s excitement level to that of a first-time participant coming into today’s matchup.
“Even though it may seem kind of odd, this football team reminds us of our first appearance in 2002,” Van Diest said.
“This year we have 25 players on our roster that we brought down that were not with us last year.
“There is a lot of excitement and a lot of newness to this team.”
This season represents the first time in school history that the Saint Xavier Cougars (13-1) have made it to the NAIA championship game and head coach Mike Feminis knows his team has proven themselves.
“This has been a tremendous ride for us,” he said.
“I think the perception on the outside was that we might be a little bit down this year because we had lost some of our big playmakers to graduation.
“I just felt in my heart that we could get it done.”
Click here to visit the Carroll College website
Click here to see the St. Xavier University website
Click here to visit the NAIA National Championship website