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North Central wins first NCAA Division III football title

(Jason Fochtman/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Ethan Greenfield ran for 138 yards and three touchdowns, Broc Rutter threw for 263 yards and two scores and North Central of Illinois routed Wisconsin-Whitewater 41-14 on Friday night for its first NCAA Division III championship.

North Central was making its first appearance in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. The Cardinals’ previous best finish in the Division III playoffs was a semifinal loss in 2013.

Rutter was 17 of 26 passing and ran for another touchdown, Andrew Kamienski caught nine passes for 134 yards and a score, and Julian Bell had two interceptions. The Cardinals (14-1) outgained the Warhawks (13-2) 436-389 en route to its 11th straight victory.

Greenfield scored on a 5-yard run less than three minutes into the game and capped a 13-play, 74-yard drive with a 2-yard scoring run with 1:49 left in the second quarter. Greenfield added a 38-yarder midway through the third quarter to make it 34-0.

In between Greenfield’s two first-half scores, Rutter found Blake Williams for a 31-yard touchdown strike late in the first quarter before Rutter had a 1-yard scoring with 10 minutes left in the second.

Max Meylor was 25 of 42 for 183 yards and a touchdown rushed for 104 yards for Whitewater, and Alex Peete ran for 79 yards and a score. The Warhawks were making their 10th appearance in the championship game in the last 15 years. They last won the title in 2014, capping a string of six titles in eight years.

Meylor got the Warhawks on the board with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jared Zausch with five minutes remaining in the third. Peete scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 9 1/2 minutes left.

Includes reporting from The Associated Press.

Kevin J. Smith covers the world of sports media and entertainment for The Fanatic.

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