Jalyn Gramstad leads his Northwestern Red Raiders to NAIA National Football Championship
Former West Lyon makes switch back from DB to QB and leads Raiders to first title in 40 years!
ORANGE CITY, IA (Dakota News Now) -The Northwestern Red Raiders ar national champions after Saturday’s win over Keiser in Durham, NC. And they did it with former West Lyon standout Jalyn Gramstad at Quarterback after spending the last two years as a defensive back for Matt McCarty. That just makes his success story even better!
Zach Borg has more on our Karl’s TV and Appliance Athlete of the Week.
Jalyn Gramstad has always thrived on the pressure that comes with playing quarterback. “All the eyes are on you and you’re kind of just the man in the arena like Tom Brady likes to say. You gotta command the huddle. I think being the leader of the offense is just something I love doing.” Gramstad says.
And there was no shortage of it when he went under center at tradition rich West Lyon and led them to a state title in 2019. “I can’t say enough about the community at West Lyon, how thankful I was to go through that program and be able to get coached by Coach (Jay) Rozeboom. You know in high school it’s something that you always want to do is win a state title and you can be remembered forever. It was awesome.” Jalyn says.
It caught they eye of Northwestern’s Matt McCarty. “He was a winner. If you watched him play football, compete on the basketball court, whatever it was we knew that he was a winner and we knew that was something that would carry over to college.” McCarty says.
Yet when Jalyn arrived in 2020 the Red Raiders were set at quarterback for the next two years with All-American Tyson Kooima, so he was moved to defensive back, starting as a freshman in their national championship game loss.
All the while never giving up on the dream of playing quarterback again. “I understand just the entire game of football a little bit better having spent time on the defensive side of the ball. That was always kind of in the back of my head, and me and coach McCarty would talk about it, down the road I wanted to play quarterback when the time was right.” Jalyn says.
It came this year with Kooima graduating and Gramstad going back to his old position to serve as a backup for Blake Fryar. Four weeks into the season Jalyn’s number was called when Fryar was hurt. “A lot of people ask are you nervous? Was it nerve racking? It really wasn’t. I don’t know, I felt some kind of peace. I think part of that had something to do with, when I stepped into that huddle I had an All-American to my left and to my right. Those guys made it pretty easy for me to step in there.” Gramstad says.
Jalyn ran, and passed, with the opportunity. Starting the final ten games of the year, he threw for more than 2500 yards and 25 touchdowns and was picked off just four times, while rushing for more than 1,000 and 23 scores. “He keeps plays alive with his feet and has turned a lot of negative plays into big plays for us offensively. To hurt defenses with his legs and then also be a major threat throwing the football has really been something that’s made our offense special this year.” McCarty says.
Culminating with the state champion becoming a national champion. Jalyn racking up 375 total yards and four touchdowns in the national title game to win offensive player MVP and lead the Red Raiders to their first championship since 1983. “Yeah it’s been a dream of mine and to see us do this and win a national title with me playing quarterback, yeah, it’s amazing!” Gramstad says.
In Orange City, Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.
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