The Benedictine College Ravens lost to Morningside (Iowa), 35-28, in the final minutes of the NAIA Championship game. The nail-biter was played out on Saturday, December 15, 2018, in Daytona Beach, Florida. It was painful playoff loss for the Ravens who were ousted in last year’s playoffs by the Saint Francis Cougars, 26-21, after leading at half. That game would be memorable for a long delay due to weather. With a couple more wins, Saint Francis went on to win their second Championship in a row last year.
The 2018 Ravens took a 20-14 lead into halftime against Morningside. The teams battled throughout the second half. After a couple touchdowns by Morningside, the Ravens trailed, 28-20 in the fourth quarter. What followed was a solid 60+ yard drive, where Raven fullback Frank Trent muscled in from the 1 to close the gap to 28-26 with just under 6 minutes remaining. Raven Quarterback Shaefer Schuetz tossed a pass to Alex Blake in the back of the end zone for the 2-point conversion and the tie. It was a new game for both sides and the Ravens felt confident.
The Ravens defense stopped Morningstar on the next possession, but the Ravens offense couldn’t do much better themselves. They were punting on fourth down, when a low snap gave Punter Jacob Young problems and Morningside recovered the ball just 18 yards for the end zone. Three plays later, Morningstar’s Trent Solsma’s tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Connor Niles to seal the 35-28 victory.
A press conference after the game showed one of those moments where a great coach has to explain the game results, makes sure his players get credit for a great season and effort, and maintains a positive attitude about the future. Wilcox did all three. Wilcox gave special credit to the school, its students, athletic program and leadership. In bit of self-deprecation, he suggested it would be tough to screw it up with all those positive things in his favor.
Wilcox has spent his adult career at a great school, Benedictine College, and the school is privileged to have him as well.