Originally created 12/16/06

Retiring coach's team sentimental pick to claim title



SALEM, Va. - Larry Kehres can understand why a lot of fans want to see Wisconsin-Whitewater coach Bob Berezowitz win today's Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl.

Berezowitz is retiring, and a win would give him the Division III national championship.

"I think he's a wonderful man for football and he's been great for his institution," Kehres said.

"But," the Mount Union coach added, "I do find myself coaching the other team, and we've got to go out there and try to play our best against a good football team."

Kehres' Purple Raiders (14-0) will be making their 10th appearance in the championship game, all since 1993, and seeking their ninth national title.

Berezowitz, who is in his 22nd season, decided three years ago that this would be his final year.

"I guess I had to try to prepare myself for this," he said this week.

His team had been to the playoffs three times before, but had never made it to the championship game until last season, when the Warhawks lost to Mount Union 35-28.

Berezowitz and the Warhawks also bring a 14-0 record to the game, and last week beat Wesley 44-7 to earn the title game rematch.

DIVISION II: Cullen Finnerty already is the winningest quarterback in college football history. He's hoping to finish his career today with one more victory.

Finnerty and Grand Valley State will put their 27-game winning streak on the line when they play for the NCAA Division II national championship against undefeated Northwest Missouri State in a rematch from last year in Florence, Ala.

The Lakers (14-0) won 21-17, stopping the Bearcats at the 5 on the last play of the game.

It was the last loss for Northwest Missouri State, which comes into this title game with a 14-0 record and has outscored its three opponents 88-24 in the playoffs.

Finnerty is 50-4 as a starter, and threw six touchdown passes in Sunday night's 49-30 semifinal win over Delta State.

"Especially considering the team we are playing. I think it's going to come down to the last play of the game again," he said.

This is the fifth time in six years the Lakers have played in the championship game.