With the 2011 NAIA National Championship game in the record books, the players, coaches and supporters of Saint Xavier University and Carroll College are finding their way back home.
And for the third year in a row, Barron Stadium was witness to a nail-biting finish as Saint Xavier (Ill.) held off Carroll (Mont.) in the final quarter to win 24-20 on Saturday.
“That was a team effort there,” Saint Xavier quarterback Jimmy Coy said. “That was something special.”
Coy threw for a touchdown and ran for another as he racked up nearly 300 yards of offense.
Rome and Floyd County hosted the game for the fourth year in a row with the last three contests decided by four points or less.
Carroll, which has won six national titles in the last 10 years, edged out Sioux Falls last year, 10-7.
“It’s a national championship. There was a lot of excitement coming into it on our part and it was a great game,” Carroll quarterback Dane Broadhead said.
“I know we don’t have the trophy going back to Helena but we’ll take a lot from this season.”
Saturday’s game was just the last in a long list of events that both football teams were a part of beginning last Thursday.
“For our guys to be able to experience this firsthand, it’s something that they’ll never forget,” Saint Xavier head coach Mike Feminis said.
“And I’m so appreciative of everything the people of Rome have done.”
The NAIA National Championship game is under contract to stay in Rome through the 2015 football season.