Morningside Finishes Preparations For Championship Bout

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 11:47 PM CST
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DURHAM, NC (KTIV) - After a long week here in Durham, we’re almost to game day. Morningside and Grand View will battle for the NAIA National Championship Saturday night. The Mustangs are playing for their third title in four years.

It’s the first time in the 66 year history of the NAIA football National Championship that both teams are from the same state. Both teams come in with undefeated record - the Mustangs are 13-0 and the Vikings are 14-0.

This is the third postseason meeting between the two teams. They split the previous two matchups.

Morningside had their final walk through practice of the season this afternoon. After practice, head coach Steve Ryan talked with his team about the unique and long journey that they’ve had together.

“It is very touching. Here we’ve been two straight years together. You had 2020 and 2021, because of Covid, was kind of a do-over,” said Ryan. “So you got guys who are playing their second senior year and this team, I felt has gotten really close and I think that’s what’s been special about it. The reality is, this is it. This is the last game with a lot of these guys and so I’m going to miss them. I’m sure they’ll be ready to play.”

We’re feeling good heading into tomorrow. We don’t want to get too excited because the game is tomorrow,” said senior Anthony Sims. “But overall I think practice this week went good. For me, my days are counting down so I would say it’s a little emotional but at the end of the day, I’m ready to go.”

The morning before their final practice of the year, the Mustangs got a tour of one of the most storied venue’s in all of sports.

Morningside made the short walk from their hotel over to Cameron Indoor Stadium, home of Duke basketball and the Cameron Crazies. The Blue Devils have called Cameron Indoor home for over 80 years.

The players and coaches walked right down on coach K court - which is named after legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski who is in his 41st and final season at Duke. The tour continued in the Duke Basketball Museum and Sports Hall of Fame.

In there, you can see a full history of Blue Devil basketball and see exhibits of the greatest players to ever wear a Duke Uniform. Walking through such a historic building was a thrilling experience, especially for Duke fans.

“For me this is an awesome experience. I’ve been a lifelong Duke basketball fan. I got that from my dad,” said senior Reid Jurgensmeier. “To be able to come in here to Cameron Indoor Stadium and see everything, that’s something I’ve been watching on TV since I was a little kid and to see that in person is pretty cool.”

“It was really cool,” said sophomore Michael Payne. “Growing up watching Duke a lot and just getting to come and see everything and basically being a part of what they have here and just being in a big group and seeing everything for the first time was really fun.”

Morningside and Grand View will kickoff at 5pm Central time.

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