Things could not have started much worse for No. 2 Grand View on Saturday. Especially for quarterback Derek Fulton.
Fulton and Grand View were able to turn things around in the final three quarters to post a 44-24 victory against No. 11 Tabor (Kan.) in a NAIA football quarterfinal at Williams Stadium.
Tabor (10-3) jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter after Fulton threw an interception and lost a fumble inside his team's 1-yard line.
"It was a really rough start," Fulton said. "It was not what we wanted to do. I don't think any of us could have imagined a worse start."
It started to look better for Grand View (12-0) when Fulton hit an outstretched Brady Roland for a 31-yard score that helped the Vikings cut the deficit to 14-7 with 5 seconds left in the first quarter. Roland also caught a 79-yard touchdown pass from Dorian Ballentine in the fourth quarter.
"It was a good to get our offense going," Roland said. "When we scored, we knew we had to keep our poise and get things done like we usually do."
Grand View held Tabor to 68 rushing yards, more than 250 less than its 329-per-game average.
"We've been consistent on run-stop defense all season," said Grand View's Zach Hollier, who had four tackles for loss. "We knew that they were going to have to start passing the ball if we stopped their running game. To force a running team to pass the ball is always a good thing."
Tabor's James Monroe, the school's career rushing leader, was held him to 24 rushing yards. Tabor quarterback Ryan Nelson was forced to pass 30 times, completing 16 for 244 yards and two scores.
Tabor previously had only 149 pass attempts.
"They started passing it way more than what we expected," Grand View linebacker Jason Gladfelder said. "That was a good thing. We want to shut down the run against any team and get after them in the pass game."
After the rough start, Grand View's Fulton was able to complete 17-of-30 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw a 20-yard touchdown to Taylor Geobel and a 61-yard touchdown to Davion Hurst.
"When I was struggling in the first quarter, every receiver came up to me and told me to keep my head up and they'd help me out," Fulton said. "That's exactly what they did."
Grand View receivers Fulton, Goebel and Jackson Petz each had five catches. Roland finished with 141 receiving yards, Goebel with 47 receiving yards and Petz 53.
"It makes the game really fun when you can get that many receivers involved in the game," Roland said. "I love it when all our receivers get involved in the passing game."