Sioux Falls repeats as NAIA champ

ROME, Ga. -- Sioux Falls won the NAIA championship for the second straight year thanks to a player who hasn't even been playing football that long.

Braden Wieking kicked three field goals, including a go-ahead 42-yarder in the fourth quarter to give Sioux Falls its second straight NAIA championship with a 25-22 win over Lindenwood.

"This is my first year of playing football," Wieking said. "I played 14 years of soccer. So this is all new to me. But I got my chance and I'm trying to make the most of it."

Ryan Lomiller ran for 115 yards and a tying touchdown that put Sioux Falls in position to win its 29th game in a row.

Adam Lopez returned the second-half kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown and his 61-yard return set up Lomiller's 1-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 22.

The Cougars (15-0) finished the decade with a record of 120-12 and three NAIA titles. The South Dakota school also won last season and in 2006, and was runner-up in 2001 and 2007.

The Cougars, who are planning to move to Division II in 2011, are 67-3 in Kalen DeBoer's five seasons as coach.

"Winning a championship never gets old," DeBoer said.

After Sioux Falls went up 8-0, Lindenwood (13-1) came back on two TD passes from Philip Staback to Matt Bramow. He set a school record with 12 touchdown catches.

The Missouri school was making its first appearance in the title game.

"They did what championship teams do," Lions coach Patrick Ross said. "We fell just short. I'm proud of my players."

Wieking also made kicks from 41 and 37 yards in the first half.

"He did a great job under pressure," Lomiller said.