In a thrilling Stagg Bowl finale, the Cortland Red Dragons secured their first-ever Division III National Championship by narrowly defeating North Central with a dramatic 38-37 victory.
The first half of the game was dominated by defense, concluding with North Central leading 7-3 after Charles Coleman’s touchdown. Cortland’s Mike Baloga managed to narrow the gap with a 31-yard field goal, setting the stage for a riveting second half.
The second half of the game transformed into an offensive showcase, with both teams exchanging leads in a high-scoring affair.
Cortland’s Zac Boyes played a pivotal role, throwing five touchdown passes, including the crucial one to Cole Burgess with just 1:41 left on the clock.
North Central’s quick response and attempt to take the lead with a two-point conversion were thwarted by Cortland’s defense, cementing the Red Dragons’ championship victory.
Boyes, with his impressive performance of 349 yards and five touchdowns, along with 123 rushing yards, was rightfully named the MVP.
Cole Burgess also contributed significantly with 11 receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns. This historic win marks Cortland as the first team from New York to claim the Division III National Championship since Ithaca in 1991, concluding their season triumphantly with a 14-1 record.
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