Division II National Championship - Top 12 Roster Facts

December 19, 2015 by SbS Football Staff | with 0 comments

The Division II National Championship game will take place in Kansas City this afternoon, and this year’s matchup features two teams with very different backgrounds.

Northwest Missouri State (14 – 0) will be in familiar territory as it will be playing in its 9th title game since 1998 (4 – 4 record).  However, this year’s version will be slightly different for the Bearcats as their previous eight Championship games took place in Florence, Alabama.

The Division II title game switched to Kansas City in 2014, and it was a welcomed change for Northwest Missouri State.  Today's game should feel very much like a home game for the Bearcats as many of their fans from the Maryville, Missouri area will likely make the 90 mile voyage down Interstate 29.

Meanwhile, their opponent, the Shepard Rams (13 – 0) from Shepherdstown, West Virginia will be playing in their first Championship game in school history.  The Rams will be making the more than 1,000 mile trip from the small town (pop. 2,200) on the West Virginia / Maryland border.

All of the players on the Rams roster are from the east coast, while the Bearcats roster consists primarily of players from the Midwest, including many from the Kansas City area.

Below we provide our Top 12 roster facts (in no particular order) of where the players in the 2015 Division II National Championship game are from.

Top 12 Roster Facts

1. The majority of players (55) on the Bearcats roster are from the home state of Missouri, while the majority of players (68) on the Rams roster are from Maryland and not the home state of West Virginia.

2. There are no players on the Northwest Missouri State roster who are from either West Virginia or Maryland, and there are no players on the Shepherd roster from the state of Missouri.

3. Florida is the only state that both teams have at least one player from; the Bearcats have 14 players from the state of Florida (one starter) and the Rams have one player from the Sunshine state (non-starter).

4. Vienna, West Virginia is the furthest west that any player on the Shepherd roster is from (Junior Tight End Jeremy Bell).

5. Northwest Missouri State has 21 players from the state of Iowa, including two current starters who are from Iowa City: leading tackler Jacob Vollstedt and big play Wide-Receiver George Sehl.

6. Shepherd has 14 current starters from the state of Maryland, and all 14 are from within 50 miles of Baltimore or Washington D.C.

7. Exactly half of the current starters for Northwest Missouri State are from the state of Missouri.

8. The Rams have 10 players on their roster from the home state of West Virginia; none of them are current starters.

9. Northwest Missouri State Quarterback Brady Bolles is one of 5 current starters for the Bearcats who is from the state of Nebraska; the Senior is from Lincoln, Nebraska (approximately 120 miles from Maryville, Missouri).

10. There are only two current starters for Shepherd who are not from either Maryland or Virginia; Quarterback Jeff Ziemba is from Newark, Delaware and Linebacker Octavius Thomas is from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

11. Although the Bearcats have 14 players on their roster from the state of Florida, the team’s leading receiver (Shawn Bane Jr.) is the only current starter; Bane Jr. has over 1,100 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns on the season.

12. The Rams leading rusher (Allen Cross) and leading receiver (Billy Brown) played high school football only 40 miles from one another (Baltimore, Maryland area).

Sources: full rosters per official team websites (as of December 6, 2015) and starters based on participation reports from Semi-final games.