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Four Local Athletes To Compete In NCAA National Championship
(Photo: Courtesy of Ferris State Athletics)

By, Gabriel Schray | JTV Sports | December 11th, 2018

Jackson, Michigan– Four Local Athletes will compete in an NCAA National Championship. The Ferris State University football squad advanced to the NCAA Division II National Championship game for the first time in school history, following an impressive 42-25 road win over Minnesota State on Saturday, (December 8) in the national semifinals in Mankato, Minnesota.

The Bulldogs built a 21-10 first half lead and scored three of the four touchdowns in the second half to pull away late from the Mavericks in improving to 15-0 overall this season. With the win, the Bulldogs will now face top-seeded Valdosta State (Ga.) in the 2018 D2 National Championship game this Saturday, (December 15) in McKinney, Texas. Kickoff is set for 4pm (ET).

There are currently four Jackson Area graduates that are playing for Ferris State and in the D2 National Championship. Three of the athletes are from Lumen Christi. Liam Daly is described as a talented outside linebacker on the Bulldog’s website. He Claimed area player of the week recognition and played several positions including linebacker, safety, quarterback and running back in High School. The Sophomore was a three-year varsity player for the Titans, and saw significant action last season at Ferris.

Daly was joined this season by a former teammate, who transferred from Ball State to join FSU. Wyatt Plate earned two letters from coach Herb Brogan at Lumen Christi. He was also team captain and two-time all-conference pick as both a receiver and defensive back. After piling up more than 600 yards receiving and seven touchdowns as a senior as well as recording five interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns- he, also earned all-state honors.

Sam Girodat also transferred to Big Rapids to join up with the powerful FSU squad. After he appeared in all 12 games for the Eastern Michigan University Eagles, he decided to transfer to Ferris. He played at Lumen Christi along with Plate and Daly, where he was a three-year starter under Head Coach Herb Brogan. Girodat tallied a 29-3 record as well as a two-time all-conference member,

A fourth Jackson-Area athlete highlights the Bulldog’s roster. Former Viking and now Junior in the program, Jacob Rumler helped FSU to a second-straight national quarterfinal appearance in 2017. He was also a member of the Bulldogs’ 2016 team that advanced to the NCAA Division II National Semifinals and a member of 2015 FSU squad that won a second-straight GLIAC Championship and reached the NCAA Division II Playoffs. Rumler claimed all-conference accolades along the offensive line at Jackson High- and was listed among The D Zone’s top prospects in the class of 2014.

Junior Linebacker Mason Bailey and Freshman Kicker Quentin Beck also highlight the Bulldog’s roster. The two stayed Bulldogs after graduating from Chelsea High School and choosing to continue their education at FSU, with a familiar mascot. Bailey was a two-year starter at Chelsea. He led the team in tackles each of his final two prep seasons. This included 81 stops with five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries as a junior. Beck played both linebacker and served as Chelsea’s punter. He was an all-state honoree as one of Michigan’s top punters in the class of 2018.

If they win, they will be the first college football team to go 16-0 and they will be the first D2 school to win a national championship in both basketball and football in the same year.

The Bulldogs totaled 457 yards in the game last Saturday, including 206 rushing along with 251 passing. MSU had 469 total yards with 183 on the ground and 286 thru the air. FSU’s Jayru Campbell completed 16-of-25 passes for 251 yards and two scores while also running for a team-high 103 yards on 19 attempts. Marvin Campbell added 60 yards rushing and Barnett caught four balls for 91 yards while senior Keyondre Craig had four grabs for 32 yards. Gunn led Minnesota State with 149 yards rushing on 33 carries while standout receiver Shane Zylstra had nine catches for 178 total yards. Junior Austin Edwards led the FSU defense with 10 tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble in the victory.

We’re excited to see if these local guys and the Bulldogs of Big Rapids can win it all. Images in this article are from the Ferris State Athletics website.

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