The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 1, 2012

NEO eyes win No. 10

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M’s Dale Patterson, win or lose, certainly doesn’t see today’s scenario as a coach riding off into the sunset.

Patterson’s Golden Norsemen face College of DuPage at 1 p.m. in the Citizens Bank Bowl at Pittsburg State University.

“It is a bit emotional,” Patterson, stepping down after a second stint as head coach, said on Saturday. “But I haven’t had much time to dwell on it. I’m not leaving.”

Patterson, of course, is remaining to concentrate on the duties of athletics director of the Miami school.

“I want the kids to win 10 games,” Patterson said. “NEO hasn’t won 10 games since the 2003 season.”

College of DuPage coach Gary Thomas didn’t sidestep questions on Saturday about the future of football at the school located in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

“I don’t know,” Thomas said. “The administration decided to play another season (2012) after three schools in our Midwest Football Conference dropped the sport.

“There is the possibility (football will be dropped),” Thomas said. “School officials have been analyzing (the pluses and minuses of continuing). I’ve been involved in the process by supplying data. The decision soon will be announced.

“I try not to think about it,” Thomas said. “I can’t control it.”

NEO, ranked ninth by the NJCAA, and No. 15 College of DuPage have respective records of 9-2 and 8-2.

Thomas is in his seventh year overall at College of DuPage and second as its head coach.

Today’s test at Carnie Smith Stadium on Brandenburg Field will be the fifth road game in a row for the Chaparrals. Their last home outing was on Sept. 22 (a 49-21 win against North Dakota Science).

“We were scheduled to play a home game on Nov. 4 against the Air Force Academy junior varsity,” Thomas said. “But Air Force canceled the game and we scrambled. We actually found both Illinois Wesleyan and Wisconsin-Whitewater for road games against their jayvees.”

This is the first time the Chaparrals have been invited to a bowl where they haven’t had a conference affiliation (the Graphic Edge Bowl) or played in the McKinnon Travel Midwest Bowl they hosted from 1990-94.

College of DuPage losses during the regular season were conference losses at Ellsworth (49-42) and top-ranked Iowa Western (65-21).

NEO lost 65-59 in two overtimes at Tyler during the SWJCFC regular season and to Navarro (62-24) in the championship game of the league postseason playoffs.

NEO’s last bowl appearance was in 2005 at the Dalton Defenders Bowl in Coffeyville. Rob Green’s Golden Norsemen beat Mississippi Gulf Coast 21-19.

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