Univ. of Cumberlands headed to NAIA title game

In the NAIA, scholarships are limited.

"A lot of them have to pay for school on their own. These guys make sacrifices, tremendous sacrifices," says University of the Cumberlands head coach John Bland. "A high percentage have work study jobs, well over 50%"

"I mow yards, pressure washing, landscaping and stuff," said senior, linebacker Weston Hazelhurst.

"My job is in my dorm, I work in the Rob Cooke computer labs." said junior, running back D'Angelo Jordan.

"I think its kind of difficult for us to do school, work, work study, and football. I think we're some special guys to be able to do something like that," explained Hazelhurst.

They play for one reason.

"For the love of the game."

And a shot at a national title.

"So many things have to happen for it to work out this way and really, I'm just going to enjoy it. You never now when you're going to get back, you never know when you're going to have a team this good again."

Freshman quarterback Adam Craig leads the Patriots' triple option attack.

"I knew Adam was really smart coming out of high school, number two in your class? That's right, so that's way smarter than me already," said Bland.

Craig's decision making and leadership are a key to the Cumberlands success, but what makes them the number one rushing offense in the nation is their stable of unselfish running backs. Seven players with more than 300 rushing yards, each willing to do whatever Coach Bland asks.

"They have an offensive lineman mentality, offensive line is the most unselfish group because all they do is block, they never get their name in the paper, that's the way our running backs are because it doesn't matter who gets the ball and that's why we're successful right now because of that mentality."

It doesn't matter who touches the ball in Rome on Saturday, as long as they all get to bring home a national title.

Kickoff with Grand View is Saturday at 4:30 on ESPN3.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment