Football | Sat, Apr. 24, 2021
Story by: Keiser University Athletics
Behind a 21-point offensive explosion in the third quarter, the No. 4 Keiser football team soared past No. 8 Reinhardt, 42-14, in the NAIA Football Championship Series Quarterfinals Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, the Seahawks have clinched a spot in the NAIA FCS Semifinals in only their third season.
Quarterback, Eli Mathews, and defensive lineman, Logan Wakefield, were named the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Game.
Reinhardt won the toss and took the ball to start, but the Seahawks forced a punt sending Mathews and the Keiser offense to work.
After marching 60 yards on their opening drive, the Seahawks drive seemed to stall as Jaden Meizinger was stopped at the one-yard line, forcing a fourth-and-goal. Keiser rolled the dice and hit as Mathews found Jerson Jacques for the score and the early lead. Logan Robinson’s extra-point made it 7-0 Keiser at the 8:00 mark. Reinhardt immediately answered as a busted play left Dylan Kelly wide open for a 57-yard touchdown catch. James Hardy evened the score at 7-7 with his kick as 6:43 remained in the quarter. Following punts by both sides, KU put together a strong drive to close out the quarter, ending at the two-yard line.
Meizinger found the end zone on the first play of the quarter, putting the Seahawks back in front, 14-7, with 14:57 showing on the clock. Turnovers plagued the Seahawks down the stretch as their final two drives ended on an interception and fumble, both by Mathews. The Eagles failed to capitalize on either as KU took a 14-7 lead into the half.
Keiser’s offense bounced back on the opening drive of the third quarter as Mathews connected with Jacques again, this time on a beautiful 23-yard over-the-shoulder fade. Following Robinson’s kick, the Seahawks led 21-7 at the 12:29 mark. After a three-and-out by the Eagles, KU found the end zone again as Mathews found a leaping Traionn Jones for the score, increasing the lead to 28-7 with 9:39 left in the quarter.
On the first play of the ensuing RU drive, Sage Chen-Young deflected Billy Hall’s pass right into the hands of a diving Wesley Scott for the interception at the Eagles 40-yard line. A free play allowed Mathews to find the end zone for a fourth time as the junior dropped a 40-yard dime to Caleb Walls, upping the lead to 35-7 as 9:39 showed on the clock. Reinhardt threatened on the next drive as they got inside the KU 10, but back-to-back sacks by Wakefield led to a turnover on downs. Following a three-and-out by the Seahawks, the Eagles cut into the deficit, 35-14, as Hall hit Brody Dorfman over the middle for the 21-yard score with :13 ticks left. Reinhardt maintained possession after a successful onside kick by Hardy.
With the Eagles threatening at the KU four-yard line, Marc Laurore tipped Hall’s pass at the line of scrimmage allowing Byron Fraley to come away with an interception in the end zone with 14:35 left. Keiser failed to capitalize off the turnover but got another chance as Kade Glenn picked off the third pass of the day for the Seahawks at the 8:03 mark. A 52-yard run by Meizinger moved the Seahawks deep into RU territory and Mathews later capped off the drive with a two-yard run, making the final score 42-14 Keiser.
The Seahawks will wait to see who and where they will be playing in the NAIA FCS Semifinals Saturday, May 1. Follow kuseahawks.com for updates.
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