Highland: Sports

HHS grad’s team captures NCAA FCS Championship

James Madison University redshirt sophomore quarterback Mack Waldman
James Madison University redshirt sophomore quarterback Mack Waldman Courtesy photo

Former Highland quarterback Mack Waldman was with the No. 4 James Madison University football team when they won the NCAA Division I-FCS National Championship with a 28-14 victory over Youngstown State on Saturday, Jan. 7 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The finale of the sub-division playoff was televised on ESPN2.

Waldman is currently a redshirt sophomore quarterback for the James Madison Dukes (14-1), who made it a perfect 2-for-2 in national title bouts after laying claim to their second national championship in their second ever appearance. James Madison won its first national title in 2004.

The Dukes’ only loss this season came to the North Carolina Tar Heels.

In the championship, Duke running back Khalid Abdullah was named the MVP after rushing for 101 yards and two touchdowns, which followed up two early TD passes by Bryan Schor.

Schor tossed his pair of touchdown passes in the first 5  1/2 minutes of the game, the first after James Madison blocked a punt and the second one came after a shanked punt set the Dukes up at midfield.

Abdullah finished the season with a school-record 1,809 yards rushing and an FBS-best 22 TDs.

James Madison advanced to the title game after defeating No. 1 North Dakota State, 27-17, in Fargo. The win ended NDSU’s 22-game win streak in the playoffs in what was its first postseason loss in 2,198 days and the first at the Fargodome since 1991.

Prior to transferring to James Madison, Waldman spent one season at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, a junior college in Miama, Okla., where he passed for 2,500 yards and 22 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. He also made the Dean’s List while at the junior college.

He did not throw a pass for James Mason this season.

As a senior at Highland High School, Waldman passed for 3,000 yards and 32 touchdowns while also rushing for 620 yards and six TDs en route to helping the Bulldogs go 11-0 to reach the quarterfinals, or Elite 8, of the IHSA Class 5A football playoffs, where Highland lost to eventual state champions Sacred Heart-Griffin. During that season, Waldman garnered IHSA 5A Honorable Mention All-State honors, as well as the following honors: Belleville News-Democrat All-Area, All-Mississippi Valley Conference First-Team, and Gateway Classic All-Star.

About Mack Waldman

Year: Redshirt sophomore

Position: Quarterback

Ht./Wt.: 6-2 / 205

Hometown: Highland

High School: Highland Highland School

Family: Son of Wayne and Monique Waldman; has a brother, Payne, and two sisters, Maddie and Parisse

Major: Media Arts and Design