2007 NAIA Football Championship Set With a Battle of Unbeatens

No. 1 Sioux Falls (S.D.) vs. No. 2 Carroll (Mont.) battle on Dec. 15 from Tennessee

Dec. 3, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The 2007 NAIA Football Championship matches up the team with the nation's longest active winning streak and the program with the most titles among all NAIA active schools. No. 1 Sioux Falls (S.D.) won its 27th straight game after a 11-10 Semifinal win over No. 9 Missouri Valley on Dec. 2. No. 2 Carroll (Mont.) got past No. 5 St. Francis (Ind.) 23-7 back on Dec. 1 to advance to its fifth Championship in the last six seasons.

These teams have combined to win the last five crowns with Carroll taking home four straight from 2002-05. Both teams come into the contest undefeated with Sioux Falls standing at 13-0 and Carroll at 14-0. The 2007 champion will be crowned on Saturday, Dec. 15 from Jim Carroll Stadium in Savannah, Tenn., with kick-off at 12 noon (CST).

This meeting is the third overall and the first in the finals. Carroll got past Sioux Falls 20-17 in the 2002 Semifinals during the Fighting Saints first Championship run. In the second meeting, CC won 55-0 in Helena, Mont., in the 2005 Semifinals.

The Championship will feature one of the nation's top offenses versus one of the nation's stingiest defenses. Sioux Falls, who has been ranked No. 1 in all 11 polls this year, averages nearly 46 points, good for third in the NAIA, and 474 yards of total offense. Quarterback Chad Cavender leads the explosive offense holding totals of 2,996 passing yards, 24 touchdowns against nine interceptions, and a 163.8 passing efficiency. Conversely, Carroll gives up only 5.1 points per game and a total of eight touchdowns in 14 games. The Fighting Saints have sacked opposing quarterbacks a nation-best 62.5 times. Defensive tackle Phil Lenoue is the team sack leader with 10.5. The Fighting Saints boast a 24-3 record in the playoffs since the 2000 season.

The 52nd Annual Championship will be televised live on College Sports Television (CSTV) with Jonathan Coachman and Roland Williams calling the action. General admission tickets to the game can be purchased in advance for $12 by calling Team Hardin County at 1-800-552-3866 or at the gate for $15. Parking at Jim Carroll Stadium is $2. Gates open at 10 a.m. (CT).

"I am confident Team Hardin County will host a memorable and exciting event," said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. "Savannah has proven itself as a tremendous site for student-athletes and spectators to enjoy great college football and continue the outstanding tradition of the NAIA."

Jim Carroll Stadium has been the home of the championship game since 1996 and has hosted every championship game from the time the NAIA merged its two divisions of football in 1997. In 2006, in front of 5,805 fans, the Sioux Falls recorded a 23-19 victory against the University of St. Francis (Ind.). The NAIA has sponsored football since 1956, when its first championship in the sport was held in Little Rock, Ark. Savannah has had the longest continuous run as host of the event with 12 straight Championships. Currently 90 NAIA institutions sponsor the sport of football.

• 52nd Annual Championship
#1 Sioux Falls (S.D.) (13-0) vs. #2 Carroll (Mont.) (14-0)
Kickoff: 12 p.m. CST
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Jim Carroll Stadium
Hardin County, Tenn.

• School Information
Sioux Falls | Click here
Carroll | Click here



Carroll and head coach Mike Van Diest return to the Championship final for the fifth time in the last six seasons (Photo by George Lane - Helena IR)