December 21, 1999

Five rounds, five journeys

By Pat Coleman
D3football.com

RESTON, Va. — My playoff odyssey might not have been as interesting or nearly as long as Pacific Lutheran's, but I can at least claim credit for about 4,500 miles traveled this postseason in pursuit of Division III football.

Thankfully, a family vacation to Minnesota for Thanksgiving accounted for about half that distance. And thankfully my 2-year-old remembers what I look like. But that includes two games at St. John's, one at Montclair State, one at Mount Union and the Stagg Bowl in Salem. That's a game in each bracket except for the South, my home region.

Each of these towns has a unique relationship with its team, but none more than one Alliance, Ohio. In fact, we'll see if they ever invite me back after their team lost for the first time in four years on my first visit!

Talk before that game ranged from a particularly incendiary Terry Pluto column in the Akron Beacon Journal regarding Rowan's roster, to the possibly mythical Danny Sheridan line on the game favoring Rowan by nine, to reports that head coach Larry Kehres was interested in the Princeton head coaching job.

This is a group of people that considers Salem a second home, that still chuckles over the Johnnies of St. John's after a playoff blowout from 1993 and that basically bleeds purple.

After the game, silence from the Alliance crowd. Except for the hundreds of people standing outside the Mount Union locker room, applauding each player as he exited.

More than an hour after the game ended, one lone Mount Union senior was walking the field for one last time, with his head down. Hopefully he'll remember the 54 games his graduating class won, not the one that got away.

Even later, one person was upset that she had already gotten airplane tickets to Virginia. What, you can't drive to Salem?

Like much of small-town America, this is a friendly group of people. OK, so I didn't meet famed poster "Wartburg Fan," but I met all the nice ones. I'm told I haven't missed anything.

And in case I had forgotten in my six-hour drive home the historical significance of the game I had witnessed, the local Washington, D.C., all-news radio station reminded me. The Streak is over.

Long live Alliance.

Salem is similar. Maybe it's because there are so many Mount Union fans there. Though this was my first Stagg Bowl, it was my third trip to Salem — the two for two previous men's basketball Finals Four.

Though, at least Salem is on an interstate.

Salem always manages to put on a show. It's a town that loves its Division III athletics, relishes its semi-annual moments in the sun, and with apologies to Frosty Westering, they make the big time where they are. And they turn out for the games as well. With one team that traditionally does not travel well (Rowan) and another from 3,000 miles away (Pacific Lutheran) how else did they draw more than 4,000 for the game?

I imagine not too many other places have the mayor of the town out for the official banquet. Let me know if I'm wrong, but I'm sure Rudolph Giuliani wasn't around for the 1997 women's Final Four!

Here's looking forward to another trip to Division III's Titletown in March.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
TBA
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
TBA
Endicott at Framingham State
TBA
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
TBA
UW-Platteville at George Fox
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kean at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
6:00 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
7:00 PM
Marietta at Denison
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Recap Photos