We have already seen one championship Saturday come and go. This week we will crown a new Division II football champion. The 2019 Division II Championship will be played on Saturday, December 21st. The 2019 championship pits the West Florida Argonauts against the Minnesota State Mavericks. West Florida enters the contest 12-2 while Minnesota State holds a record of 14-0. Ahead of the championship, we will recap both team’s paths to the championship. Who will hoist the trophy on Saturday? Let us find out.
West Florida concluded the 2019 regular season at 8-2. The Argonauts defeated Wingate in round one. Awaiting them in round two, the defending champions Valdosta State. West Florida prevailed in a rematch from earlier in the season. The Argonauts defeated the Blazers 38-35.
The path to the championship, however, did not get any easier. West Florida defeated Lenoir-Ryne in the quarterfinals and upsets last year’s runner up, Ferris State, in the semifinals.
The Argonauts have embraced the underdog role and are hoping the clock does not strike midnight in the 2019 Division II Championship. Furthermore, the glass slipper is holding firm, and West Florida hopes to have their happy fairytale ending.
Minnesota State finished 2019 undefeated at 11-0. As a result, the Mavericks were given a national seed and a first-round bye. Minnesota State sat as the four seed and took on Colorado-St-Pueblo in round two. The Mavericks prevailed 35-7.
In the quarterfinals, Minnesota State matched up with former champion, Texas A&M Commerce. The Mavericks made it look easy, defeating Commerce by a final score of 42-21. Minnesota State did not let up as they faced off with, number one national seed, Slippery Rock in the semifinals. The Mavericks showed the committee they are the true number one with a 58-15 triumph.
Minnesota State looks to continue its successful and dominating season with a victory on Saturday. All the wins do not mean anything unless you can win the last one. The Mavericks hope it is their time to close out an undefeated championship season.
2019 Division II Championship (Players to Watch)
Both teams have experienced players that can impact the outcome of the game on Saturday. West Florida is led by their quarterback Austin Reed who has thrown for 3,561 yards and 34 touchdowns. Reed has two receivers on the outside that are close to registering 1,000 receiving yards. Tate Lehito and Q Randolph both have over 900 receiving yards and have combined to catch 14 touchdowns.
On the other hand, Minnesota State is led by their quarterbacks Ryan Schlichte and JD Ekowa. These two quarterbacks have combined to throw for almost 3,000 yards and 26 touchdowns. Whomever, the quarterback, is, they have a game-breaker at receiver, Shane Zylstra. Zylstra has caught 17 touchdowns for 1,531 yards. Expect both teams to spread the ball around. Additionally, this has the makings, on paper, to be a shootout of epic proportions.
2019 Division II Championship (Keys to Victory/History)
In the 2019 Division II Championship, the team that wins the turnover battle, more than likely, comes out on top. Minnesota State has not been stopped all postseason. On the contrary, West Florida has upset three higher-ranked teams in these playoffs. Minnesota State could be the toughest team West Florida has faced, and they are a mismatch for the Argonauts. In contrast, West Florida has not backed down from any competition and have not been intimidated. This has the makings of being a competitive game that goes down to the last second.
Whichever team makes the fewest mistakes will hoist the trophy at the end of the game Whoever wins the title, it will be the school’s first championship. In addition to never winning a title, both teams have combined only to make two championship games overall. Minnesota State lost in 2014, while West Florida lost in 2017. Colorado-St-Pueblo defeated Minnesota State, whereas Texas A&M-Commerce beat West Florida.
Both teams are motivated to take the championship back to their respective campuses. Each team deserves to win, but one team must lose. Who will the winner be? The game will take place at McKinney ISD Stadium in McKinney, Texas. Tune in to ESPNU on Saturday at 2:00 central to find out who will be your 2019 Division II Champion.
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