If quarterback Joel Nixon can extend his personal winning streak under center to 40 games Morningside will celebrate a national championship later this week. The Mustangs are headed to Rome, Georgia, for Thursday’s matchup with Marian of Indiana in the NAIA championship game.
Nixon spent most of his college career as a receiver before being asked by coach Steve Ryan in pre-season practice about a switch after returning starter Kyle Nikkel left the squad to join the Morningside basketball team. Nixon says the coach called him in after practice had started and asked him if he wanted to play quarterback, already knowing that Nixon wanted to play the position.
Ryan asked Nixon if he thought he could lead the team to a conference championship and he said “Absolutely, no doubt in my mind.”
He has done that and more by throwing for more than 3,600 yards and 47 touchdowns. He also leads the team in rushing with 770 yards.
His success should not be surprising. Nixon led his Wakefield, Nebraska high school teams to state championships and perfect 13-0 records in his junior and senior seasons. Morningside takes a 13-0 record into the title game. Nixon says even this far into the season the Mustangs continue to get better with each game.
He says that’s the trademark of the team as they felt by getting better each game they could win the conference and be prepared to win the national championship. Nixon feels the Mustangs have survived a tough road to the title game. They beat defending champ St. Xavier of Illinois in the semifinal round.
Nixon believes they’ve had the toughest schedule leading to this game as he says a couple of plays have made the difference in each game. Nixon says while the players will enjoy the days leading up to Thursday night’s title game they consider this a business trip.