One final chapter is set to be written in this storybook season for the University of West Florida football team. The Argonauts play for the NCAA Division II national championship Saturday at 5 p.m. against 13th-ranked Texas A&M Commerce at Sporting Park in Kansas City.
Both teams are making their first Division II title game appearance. The Argos, though, are unique in that this just their second year of existence.
A 5-6 team in its inaugural season, the Argos head into the championship game winners of six consecutive games and owners of an 11-3 record.
The Lions are 13-1 and have won their last nine games.
Neither team was expected to be here.
UWF entered the postseason as a sixth seed and has played all four of its playoff games on the road, including last week’s showdown against top-ranked Indiana (Pa.). UWF stunned the unbeaten Crimson Hawks 27-17.
A&M Commerce, which joined Division II in 1981, knocked off Harding 31-17 in its national semifinal in front of a record-setting crowd of 10,120 at home. Its previous three playoff games were all on the road.
The Argos haven’t given up more than 21 points in any of their four playoff games despite facing four nationally ranked opponents.
The Lions have allowed 20-plus twice and survived a double-overtime thriller against seventh-ranked Central Washington in the second round.
UWF is putting up 28 points per game and giving up 20.2 The Argos average 348.6 yards per game and give up 323.8.
The Lions are putting up 37.1 points per outing and allowing just 16. They average 445.7 yards per game and give up 305.4.
Road to Kansas City
UWF: Wingate (31-0); West Georgia (17-14); West Alabama (28-21); Indiana (Pa.) (27-17)
A&M: Winona State (20-6); Central Washington (34-31 2 OT); Minnesota-Mankato (31-21); Harding (31-17)
UWF: Mike Beaudry: Has thrown for 2,963 yards and 28 touchdowns
A&M: Luis Perez: Has thrown for 4,678 yards and 44 touchdowns
UWF: Chris Schwarz: 813 yards, 6 touchdowns; Anthony Johnson: 405 yards, 2 touchdowns
A&M: Carandal Hale: 753 yards, 5 touchdowns; E.J. Thompson: 378 yards, 3 touchdowns
UWF: Antoine Griffin: 55 catches, 786 yards, 3 touchdowns; Ka’Ron Ashley: 34-461, 6 touchdowns
A&M: Buck Wilson: 65 catches, 950 yards, 11 touchdowns; D’Arthur Cowan: 60 catches, 765 yards, 9 touchdowns
UWF: DB Marvin Conley: 100 tackles, 4 interceptions; LB Reggie Barnes: 98 tackles, 2.5 sacks; LB Trent Archie: 88 tackles, 4 sacks
A&M: LB Brucks Saathoff: 95 tackles, 3 sacks; LB Garrett Blubaugh: 80 tackles, 2 interceptions; LB Neema Behbahani: 65 tackles