FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin College football team has been waiting for two weeks to find out who their first opponent in the NCAA Division III playoffs. Sunday night, the Grizzlies got their answer when the NCAA released the 32-team playoff field.
The champions of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC), the Grizzlies (8-2) will head to Waverly, Iowa next Saturday to take on the No. 15-ranked Knights of Wartburg College. For Franklin, it will be their ninth playoff appearance in the last 11 years while Wartburg makes their 11th playoff appearance in program history and first since 2014. It will be the first ever meeting between the two programs.
"We're extremely excited to represent the Heartland Conference in this year's tournament," Head coach Mike Leonard said. "Wartburg's head coach Rick Willis and I used to coach together at Wittenburg and he has developed a great program at Wartburg. We're looking forward to the challenge of playing a great team."
Franklin enters Saturday's game winners of eight straight games following a 56-14 win over Hanover College in the regular season finale. The Grizzlies ran the table in conference play, going 8-0 while averaging 55 point per game in HCAC play.
Wartburg enters Saturday's game a perfect 10-0 on the year, clinching their spot in the playoffs after winning the Iowa Conference Championship. The Knights are averaging 38.7 points per game while surrendering just 15.2 per contest.
Kickoff from Walston-Hoover Stadium in Waverly is set for 1:00 p.m. eastern time. The winner of Saturday's game will move on to take on either Trine University or Monmouth College in the second round on Saturday, Nov. 25.