* NAIA SEMIFINALS *
EVERYBODY MUST GET STONEHOUSE – The top-seeded UNIVERSITY OF THE CUMBERLANDS PATRIOTS proved exceptionally skilled at getting to Dakota Stonehouse, the Quarterback for the visiting CARROLL COLLEGE FIGHTING SAINTS. These two teams kept each other scoreless in the 1st Quarter but the Patriots were leading 13-3 as Halftime approached when the Fighting Saints made it 13-10 instead. CC – winners of 6 of the last 11 National Championships – racked up a 24-20 lead as the 3rd Quarter ended. A Touchdown by UC followed by a Field Goal by CC left the score knotted at 27-27. A crucial sack of Stonehouse when the Fighting Saints were moving into Field Goal range sent the game into Overtime. After the Patriots managed 7 points in the extra session it was Carroll College’s turn. Soon ANOTHER sack of Stonehouse ended CC’s hopes on 4th and goal! UC wins 34-27 and moves on to the title game on December 21st!
IN A BLOWOUT NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU YAWN – The GRAND VIEW UNIVERSITY VIKINGS played host to the MORNINGSIDE COLLEGE MUSTANGS in this much-anticipated game that turned into a laugher by Halftime. The Vikings led last year’s runners-up in NAIA football 7-0 after one Quarter of play but had parlayed that into a 28-0 lead by the break. The Mustangs never even sniffed the scoreboard throughout the 2nd Half but Grand View mustered another Touchdown to win a trip to Rome, GA for the Championship Game. The final score was 35-0, setting up a battle of unbeatens between the Patriots and the Vikings.
* NCAA DIVISION 2 QUARTERFINALS *
LIONS AND CLOSE GAMES AND BEARS – OH MY! – The LENOIR-RHYNE UNIVERSITY BEARS welcomed the UNIVERSITY OF NORTH ALABAMA LIONS for what turned out to be D2’s closest game of the day. The Lions carried with them decades of postseason tradition as well as 2013’s last hope for the Gulf South Conference to retain the Championship. The Bears were unintimidated, however and went blow for blow with the team from Florence, emerging with a tight 42-39 victory.
LUBBERS STADIUM STATE OF MIND – With snow on the ground and Michigan’s freezing temperatures assailing the attendees it was truly the proper setting for another playoff triumph for the GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY LAKERS. The WEST TEXAS A&M BUFFALOES came to Lubbers Stadium determined to add another scalp to their beltful of postseason upsets. The Lakers sent the Buffaloes home disappointed, however, winning by a final score of 35-28.
AS SHEPHERD WATCHED THEIR CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES SAY GOOD NIGHT – I know, that’s a real stretch of a title. The WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY GOLDEN RAMS took it on the road against the SHEPHERD UNIVERSITY RAMS. The Golden Rams dominated this battle for a trip to the semifinals, pushing Shepherd around on both sides of the ball and at length going home with a comfortable 28-7 triumph.
BLUDGEONED BY THE BEARCATS – The NORTHWEST MISSOURI STATE BEARCATS continue to romp through the postseason in pursuit of their first National Championship since 2009. The visiting SAINT CLOUD STATE HUSKIES had the misfortune of being the Bearcats’ victim this week. Northwest Missouri State were in control of this buttkicking from start to finish and when all was said and done the final score was Bearcats 59 Huskies 21.
* NCAA DIVISION 3 QUARTERFINALS *
WESLEY GOES DOWN FIGHTING – This clash between the dynastic UNIVERSITY OF MOUNT UNION PURPLE RAIDERS and the WESLEY COLLEGE WOLVERINES went from blowout to classic in the 2nd Half. The 1st Quarter seemed like business as usual with the defending champs decimating the Wolverines by a score of 31-0. At Halftime the Purple Raiders still led by a very comfortable 48-20 tally. Before you can say “snikt” the Wolverines made it a 48-34 game by the end of the 3rd Quarter of play. In the 4th Wesley went absolutely berserk, putting up 25 more points of their own, but Mt Union had notched 14 themselves, winning this nailbiter by a final score of 62-59.
COMEBACK IN WHITEWATER – The UW-WHITEWATER WARHAWKS nearly got more than they could handle from the visiting LINFIELD COLLEGE WILDCATS. Linfield shut Whitewater out 10-0 in the 1st Quarter and still led by a score of 17-14 at the Half. The Warhawks clamped down defensively from then on while their offense gave them their first lead of the game 21-17 in the 3rd Quarter. Whitewater added another 7 points in the 4th Quarter for a 28-17 win and another step closer to a rematch with their archrivals from Mt Union.
LEADING A CRUSADE TO THE SEMIFINALS – The UNIVERSITY OF MARY HARDIN-BAYLOR CRUSADERS roughed up their guests, the SAINT JOHN FISHER COLLEGE CARDINALS. “The Cru” as they’re called led the Cardinals 12-0 at the end of the 1st Quarter and never looked back. A 19-6 UMHB lead at Halftime turned into a 31-12 lead after 3 Quarters. Both teams scored in the double-digits in the 4th and when all was said and done the Crusaders moved on by a final score of 45-23.
ENOUGH PURPLE ALREADY! – The NORTH CENTRAL COLLEGE CARDINALS were apparently determined to avoid an all-purple semifinals by upsetting the undefeated BETHEL UNIVERSITY (MN) ROYALS. The aristocrats from Arden Hills were never truly in this game and trailed North Central 14-3 in the 1st Quarter and 21-3 at the break. The Royals at last found the endzone one time each in the 3rd and 4th Quarters but could not slow down the Cardinal offense. The final score was Cardinals 41 Royals 17.
* NJCAA CHAMPIONSHIP * DEC 8th UPDATE *
MISSISSIPPI BOWL – This game for the National Championship in the NJCAA was between the (1) GEORGIA MILITARY COLLEGE BULLDOGS and the (2) EAST MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE LIONS. Both teams came in boasting records of 11-0 and with East Mississippi trying for its 2nd championship in the past 3 years. At the end of a 1st Half that redefined “smash-mouth football” the Lions led 24-19. Offensive sparks flew in the 3rd Quarter with East Miss gaining a 37-25 advantage. The Bulldogs trimmed it to a 37-32 game but then gave up a kickoff return that let the Lions set up shop deep in GMC territory. Soon it was 44-32 and the wind was knocked from the Bulldogs’ sails. In the 4th East Mississippi expanded their lead to 52-32, which wound up being the final score. CONGRATULATIONS to the East Mississippi Lions, the National Champions of NJCAA Football … again!
* CCCAA CHAMPIONSHIP *
The CCCAA title game between the BUTTE COLLEGE ROADRUNNERS and the FULLERTON COLLEGE HORNETS will be played on December 14th.
* NCAA D2 BOWLS *
TEXARKANA BOWL – DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER THIS GAME BETWEEN THE HARDING UNIVERSITY BISON AND THE TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE LIONS HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER 13th AT 7pm ET.
MINERAL WATER BOWL – The PITTSBURG (KS) STATE UNIVERSITY GORILLAS, the winningest program in D2 football, took on the SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS in this storied Bowl. Teams from the MidAmerica Intercollegiate Athletics Association and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference usually provide a very entertaining matchup but not this year. The MIAA’s Gorillas ground the Mustangs into a fine powder then blew that powder to the winds. Pitt State won by an unbelievable score of NINETY to TWENTY-EIGHT!
* NJCAA BOWLS *
SALT CITY BOWL – You can make it FIVE Salt City Bowl victories in a row for the HUTCHINSON COLLEGE BLUE DRAGONS. Hutch took on the DAKOTA COLLEGE OF BOTTINEAU LUMBERJACKS who were anything BUT okay (Monty Python fans will like it). The Blue Dragons lit up the scoreboard as usual but also played some of their nastiest defense of the season, shutting out the Lumberjacks. Over the course of 4 Quarters Hutch put up 20, 2, 28 and 7 points to win in a 57-0 rout.
VALLEY OF THE SUN BOWL – The SCOTTSDALE COLLEGE FIGHTING ARTICHOKES logged their very first Bowl victory in program history in this gridiron clash with the DODGE CITY COLLEGE CONQUISTADORS, the feel-good team of 2013. The Conquistadors were playing in their first Bowl since 2005 but only trailed the Fighting Artichokes 15-14 at the Half. Both offenses made appropriate adjustments during the break and as the 4th Quarter started the score stood at Dodge City 36 Scottsdale 35. On their next 2 possessions the ‘Chokes put up 2 Touchdowns with a 2-point conversion on the 2nd TD giving them a 50-36 lead. The Conquistadors responded with a Touchdown of their own with just 1:1o left to play. That marked the end of the scoring, giving Scottsdale a 50-42 win.
BRAZOS VALLEY BOWL – The NAVARRO COLLEGE BULLDOGS and the HINDS COLLEGE EAGLES did battle in Bryan, TX in this Bowl that turned into a true grudge match. The Eagles led 7-3 after the 1st Quarter and 13-10 at Halftime. The Bulldogs outdid Hinds 17-14 in an offensive orgy of a 3rd Quarter to tie things up 27-27. In the final frame Navarro College mustered one final Touchdown for a 34-27 victory.
EL TORO BOWL – This Bowl pitted the NEW MEXICO MILITARY INSTITUTE BRONCOS against the ARIZONA WESTERN COLLEGE MATADORS. The Broncos got off to a 13-3 lead in the 1st Quarter but by Halftime the hard-fighting Matadors trailed by just 20-16. Unfortunately for the AWC faithful the Matadors didn’t put up any more points while the Institute notched 10 more points in the 3rd Quarter and forced a Safety in the 4th. The final score wound up being Broncos 32 Matadors 16.
HEART OF TEXAS BOWL – The TRINITY VALLEY COLLEGE CARDINALS made it a VERY long game for the MESA COLLEGE THUNDERBIRDS. A 14-3 lead became a 42-16 Halftime advantage with even more to come. By the time the game was over Trinity Valley had eviscerated the Thunderbirds by an embarrassing 72-23. The 72 points scored by the Cardinals were the 2nd-most in any NJCAA Bowl. The actual record of 76 points was put up by Dixie State College in 1997, which was before DSC moved up to the 4 year college level.
* CCCAA BOWLS *
SAN FRANCISCO COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOWL – This was the last remaining game for the CCCAA this season except for next week’s Championship Game. The CITY COLLEGE OF SAN FRANCSICO RAMS took on the SIERRA COLLEGE WOLVERINES in a game that the Rams controlled almost from the opening kickoff. CCSF was spanking the Wolverines 21-7 after 1 Quarter of play, setting the tone for the rest of the game. A 31-17 Halftime lead became 38-24 after 3 Quarters and when the dust settled the Rams walked away with an easy 59-31 Bowl victory.
* SUNDAY DEC 8th NJCAA BOWLS *
GRAPHIC EDGE BOWL – OPENING ACT – The overriding theme for the opening game of this double-header was “that’s why they play the games”! NOBODY was giving the IOWA CENTRAL COLLEGE TRITONS a fighting chance against the (7) ROCHESTER TECH YELLOW JACKETS. The Tritons players didn’t get the memo, however and traded blow for blow with the Yellow Jackets throughout this undeniable Instant Classic. Regulation ended with the score knotted up at 17-17 despite the predictions that Iowa Central would be getting scraped up with a putty knife at game’s end. The Tritons held Rochester Tech to a Field Goal on their OT possession and then an 8 yard Touchdown pass from Iowa Central QB Kendall Jackson to Brandynn Clark gave the Tritons a 23-20 Overtime victory!
GRAPHIC EDGE BOWL – MAIN EVENT – The premier game of the Graphic Edge Bowl double-header was a rematch of last year’s NJCAA National Championship Game. The IOWA WESTERN COLLEGE REIVERS, the 2012 champs once again took on the BUTLER (KS) GRIZZLIES albeit for lesser stakes this time. The Reivers came into the game ranked 3rd in the nation with the Grizzlies ranked 5th. Whatever anyone was expecting it was NOT the defensive magnum opus that unfolded. Iowa Western put up a Field Goal in both the 1st and 2nd Quarters … which marked the end of the offense for the day. I’m serious. From there it was a bloody defensive grudge match with the Reivers walking away with a very odd 6-0 win.
FOOTBALL CAPITAL OF KANSAS BOWL – You say you think a Bowl with that kind of name should combine gridiron action with a Wild West feel? Well this event had you covered. The TYLER COLLEGE APACHES did battle with the GARDEN CITY COLLEGE BRONCBUSTERS in The Jungle, the iconic stadium of Division 2 football’s Pittsburg (KS) State. The Apaches made the Broncbusters their prison brides in this game, striking a blow for the Lone Star State where Texas vs Kansas football pride is concerned. The ugly final score in this blowout was Apaches 47 Broncbusters 21.
Helmets courtesy of the Helmet Project.