Skip to main content


Class Nine-Player Prep Bowl Championship: Nevis 14, Kingsland 12

Posted: Saturday, November 25, 2023 - 2:11 PM

In a great defensive battle between two unbeaten teams, the Nevis Tigers captured their first football state championship with a 14-12 victory over Kingsland in the 2023 Nine-Player Prep Bowl title game at U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 25.

Nevis (13-0), making its sixth appearance in the state playoffs, was the runner-up in 2017, its last trip to state. The Tigers’ other appearances were in 1981, 1990, 1993 and 2012.

Kingsland made its first trip to state since 2003. The Knights were state champs in 1995 and 2002 and were the runner-up in 2003.

Nevis averaged 44 points this season and Kingsland averaged 48. The final score Saturday was the third-lowest-scoring game in Nine-Player Prep Bowl history.

Both teams scored in the first quarter with Kingsland’s Ayden Howard catching a 52-yard touchdown pass from Kaaleem Reiland and Nevis responding when Eli Lewis scored on a 1-yard run. The extra point kick by Josha Sammons gave the Knights a 7-6 lead.

In the second quarter, Nevis’ Ayomide Ogundeji scored on a 32-yard run and Sammons’ kick gave the Tigers a 14-6 lead.

Reiland capped a 10-play, 67-yard drive for Kingsland (13-1) in the third quarter with a 5-yard touchdown burst. A pass from Reiland to Howard on the two-point conversion attempt failed.

The game came down to the final minutes of the fourth quarter, when Kingsland started from its own 46-yard line and moved down the field. On an eight-play drive, the big play came when Reiland threw to Howard for 29 yards to the Nevis 20. An 11-yard run by Beau Wiersma put the ball on the Nevis 9.

From there, Wiersma ran for 2, 5 and 1 yard, putting the Knights at fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Reiland took a shotgun snap and ran into the middle of the line. The play was ruled short of the goal line and video replay confirmed the call.

Nevis clinched the state title by running five plays, the final three on kneel-downs.

Kingsland was dominant on the stat sheet, gaining 348 total yards (231 rushing, 117 passing) to 97 for Nevis and holding an 18-3 advantage in first downs. Ogundeji led Nevis with 17 rushes for 70 yards. Wiersma ran 28 times for 162 yards for Kingsland.

Next Article

Class AAA Prep Bowl Championship: Stewartville 43, Annandale 13