The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

August 17, 2013

NEO's football opener pushed back

Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College won’t open its football season on Thursday night at home.

The contest against Metropolitan University of Denver at refurbished Robertson Field would have been the first college game in the United States this season and also marked the debut of new NEO head coach Sherard Poteete.

So much for a historic opener.

NEO athletic director Dale Patterson said the Golden Norsemen were told Thursday by the Roadrunners that they couldn’t field a competitive team because of injuries and lack of numbers.

The game officially was canceled, Patterson said.

The scheduling change, however, could produce a more competitive game — if only on this year’s schedule — for Poteete’s Golden Norsemen.

The Roadrunners were scheduled to play at Coffeyville Community College on Sept. 7 for Game 2 of their five-game schedule.

Name the team which already was open on Sept. 7?

NEO, of course.

Now, you know the NEO opponent on Sept. 7.

The Golden Norsemen, who’ll open on Aug. 31 at Highland (Kan.), will travel to Coffeyville on Sept. 7 to tackle the Red Ravens at 7 p.m. in Veterans Stadium.

The first home game for NEO will be on Sept. 14 against Blinn (Texas).

Said Patterson: “Because both teams had the open date, it was a natural fit for us to play each other.”

The last NEO-Coffeyville clash was in 2004 in Miami. The Red Ravens rallied for a 23-20 victory to pare their deficit in the series to 22-12-2. They first played in 1925.

Said Poteete: “Actually, this situation turns out better for us because Coffeyville is ranked No. 12 and we’re No. 14. Our players are fired up about getting to play a quality team. What makes this such a great matchup is the history involved between the programs.

“Obviously, it would have been great for us to be able to gear up and play this game (against Metropolitan),” Poteete said. “Our guys are working hard to be prepared for Thursday. But I don’t think anybody on either side of the ball will complain about having another week to prepare for Highland.”

Said Patterson: “It’s unfortunate for our fans that we’re losing a home game. But 45 miles (to Coffeyville) isn’t that far to travel. The Red Ravens have a nice stadium and a lot of seating.

“This is just a one-year deal,” Patterson said. “But we both are going to try to work something out with next year’s schedule. This is such a natural rivalry we need to continue.”

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