When St. Xavier University football coach Mike Feminis said his players will be talking about the NAIA national championship game for the rest of their lives, he wasn't kidding.
Jimmy Coy ran for one touchdown and passed for another in St. Xavier's heart-stopping 24-20 victory over Carroll (Mont.) in the title game on Saturday at Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga. And he was only one of the heroes for the Cougars (14-1), who won the first national championship of any kind at St. Xavier.
Mark Williams, a 5-foot-9 freshman defensive back, made the biggest play on defense for St. Xavier. He broke up a pass intended for Carroll's Anthony Clarke on a fourth-and-goal play from the St. Xavier 9 with 2:03 remaining.
Frankfort resident and former Lincoln-Way East standout Tommy Lynch kicked a 20-yard field goal for St. Xavier as the Cougars jumped to a 10-0 lead. Carroll fought back and went ahead 20-17 on a 64-yard kickoff return by Jared Mayernik to open the third quarter.
St. Xaxier was quick to respond on the next possession. The Cougars regained the lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by K.J. Franklin. Franklin finished with 12 yards rushing on six carries. Oak Lawn's Nick Pesek led St. Xavier with 50 yards on eight carries, including a long-gainer of 18 yards.
Coy completed 28 of 43 for 216 yards. He threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Shane Zackery. Coy also scored on an 8-yard run.
St. Xavier outgained Carroll 355-286 despite losing the battle of time of possession by 5 minutes. Neither team turned the ball over in the thriller. Carroll (13-2) was denied in its bid to win its seventh NAIA football national champonship.