The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

November 10, 2012

NEO, Navarro to clash for title

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M beat visiting Navarro 26-24 on Oct. 27 to win the regular-season title in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference.

The revenge-minded Bulldogs have returned to Miami.

Ninth-ranked Navarro (8-2) and No. 4 NEO (9-1) will tangle at 1 p.m. today at Robertson Field to decide the 17th annual SWJCFC championship and perhaps clarify bowl destinations.

“It was a tough game,” NEO coach Dale Patterson said Friday of the recent clash. “I don’t expect it to be any different tomorrow.

“Navarro (from Corsicana, Texas) is the most talented team we’ve played all year,” Patterson said. “Our kids will have to play very well to win.

“It probably will boil down to the team making the fewer mistakes (will win),” Patterson said. “It should be a heck of a game.

“Win, or lose, I expect us to receive an invitation to a bowl,” Patterson said.

Third-seeded Navarro knocked off No. 2, sixth-ranked Kilgore 42-14 last week in a semifinal while NEO was clipping fourth-seeded Tyler 37-35 at Robertson Field.

“We talked about coming back here the moment we lost two weeks ago,” first-year Navarro coach Brian Mayper told Monty Franks in the Miami News-Record. “We were able to avenge our first loss of the year last weekend (at Kilgore) and now we can complete our mission.”

Quarterback Tank Godfrey completed 18 of 27 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns to pace Navarro at Kilgore. Godfrey also scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter to give the Bulldogs a 28-14 lead.

“Godfrey and tailback Traylon Shead, a transfer from the University of Texas, are big-time players,” Patterson said. “Tyler Middleton gives Navarro another Division I-type running back.”

NEO notes: The Golden Norsemen, during Patterson’s first tour of duty (1996-2003), won SWJCFC titles in 2000, 2002 and 2003 and was 3-1 in postseason bowls. ... “We had a great crowd last Saturday and we hope it’s better this week,” Patterson said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our community to come out and enjoy some very good football. We’re very honored that our success has created so much interest in Miami and surrounding communities.” ... Tickets are $5 and $3 (12-and-under). Gates open at 11 a.m.

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