Football: Brandon Sherman goes out on top at Marian University
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media December 21, 2012 8:40PM
Brandon Sherman, Marian Catholic High School graduate and member of the 2012 NAIA champion Marian University Knights. | Supplied photo
Updated: January 24, 2013 6:15AM
When Brandon Sherman joined the Marian University football team in Indianapolis in 2008, the Knights were in just their second season of existence and coming off a 1-9 inaugural campaign.
Since then, Sherman, a Marian Catholic alum and Richton Park native, has been a part of Marian University’s transformation into one of the NAIA’s top programs.
It all came to a pinnacle in the redshirt senior’s final collegiate game Dec. 13 in Rome, Ga., when the Knights topped Morningside College (Iowa) 30-27 in overtime to win their first NAIA national championship.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Sherman said. “We’ve come so far in such a short time. After all those two-a-days and all that work for all those years, it’s all worth it now. Not many people in the world get to go out as a champion in their last game.”
Sherman, who converted from running back to tight end last season and remained a tight end this year, did not have a catch in the title game.
He did have the best season of his career, though, hauling in five touchdown catches among his 14 receptions for 185 yards.
“I had to make a sacrifice for the team changing to tight end,” he said. “The coaching staff made a great decision there. I’ve been able to help the team with some touchdown catches. More importantly, I’ve gotten to be a captain and been able to be a leader.”
Proof that Sherman is thought of as a leader came the following night back in Indianapolis as the Knights celebrated their championship. He was one of a select few players asked to speak by coach Ted Karras Jr.
“It was really cool getting to speak,” Sherman said. “As soon as we got off the bus, we had TV channels all over us. We got a police escort back to school. We had fireworks. It was fun.”
Sherman said he “gets teased all the time” about going from Marian Catholic to Marian University. On the plus side, he gets to wear the same gear from high school.
But the additional wardrobe options weren’t what brought him to Indianapolis.
“It was a small school, but far from home so I could get out of my comfort zone,” he said. “It has a small big city feel in Indianapolis and (Karras Jr.) really sold me. The vision he had for this program, he showed it to me and it’s come true.”
The Knights were extra motivated this season after a heartbreaking 30-27 loss to eventual national champion St. Xavier in a national semifinal in 2011 in Indianapolis.
“That was tough to take, but it worked out for the better,” Sherman said. “We came together after that. We realized that we have to be able to finish and we know how to do that now.”
The only loss for Marian (12-1) this season was a 23-6 defeat Nov. 3 to St. Xavier, and some of the Knights were hoping for a chance for revenge in the title game — a chance lost when St. Xavier fell to Morningside in the semifinals.
“As a Chicago-area guy, I would have liked to have seen St. Xavier again,” Sherman said. “It’s a great rivalry and a fun game, but I’m not going to complain about playing anyone in the championship game.”
In the championship game, Marian rallied from a 20-10 fourth-quarter deficit, tying the game at 27 on Mike Josifovski’s 35-yard field goal on the final play of regulation.
When Josifovski hit the game-winner in overtime, school history was made and the celebration was on.
“It was a great feeling,” Sherman said. “You couldn’t write a better ending. It’s like a dream come true.”