No. 7-ranked Butler Community College tackles No. 13 Trinity Valley today in the third Midwest Classic Bowl in Miami, Oklahoma.
Kickoff is at 2 p.m. at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M’s Red Robertson Field.
Butler (9-3) finished the regular season with a 34-27 home victory over No. 3 Garden City. Trinity Valley (7-3) suffered a 26-24 semifinal loss to Navarro, which went on to win the Southwest Junior College Football Conference playoffs.
“It is always awesome to get to play in December, especially at this level,” Butler coach Tim Schaffner said in a release. “To extend our season, to give our guys more exposure, to let the recruiters come in and see our guys practice and then the amount of coaches who will be at the game. Not everyone gets this opportunity, and for us, playing in December is special. It gives our kids the opportunity to play together one more time. In the end, that’s what’s really important and memorable to them.”
Butler is making a return trip to this bowl game. The Grizzlies defeated NEO 34-30 last year, overcoming an early two-touchdown deficit.
Trinity Valley is averaging 34.7 points and has one of the top offenses in the NJCAA at 459.7 total yards and 275.9 passing yards per game.
“They are going to be loaded, and they are going to be athletic on defense,” Schaffner said. “They score a ton of points and it should make for a great matchup.”
Trinity Valley sophomore quarterback Jeremy Hunt has thrown for 2,227 yards, 20 touchdowns and completed 62 percent of his passes in nine games. The Cardinals’ receiving core has three receivers with 360 yards or more, with sophomore Keonta Fiakpui leading the way in receptions (30) and touchdowns (5) while amassing 384 yards receiving.
Defensively, the Cardinals are led by sophomore linebacker Race Moser, who has a team-high 119 tackles and seven tackles for losses. Other top tacklers include freshman linebacker Jaeden Ward (71 tackles), sophomore defensive back Marques Williams (70) and freshman linebacker Jacob Berry (65).
Sherard Poteete, former quarterback and head coach at NEO, is finishing his second season as Trinity Valley’s head coach.
Butler’s offense is led by quarterback Nick Davenport, who made his first start of the season in the win over Garden City. Davenport threw for two touchdowns on 5-of-13 passing for 107 yards, caught a 10-yard touchdown pass and ran another score while carrying the ball 16 times for 27 yards. Freshman running back Adarius Thomas has 663 yards rushing on 132 attempts and three touchdowns. George Qualls is Butler’s top receiver with 41 receptions for 693 yards and six touchdowns.
On defense, the Grizzlies are led by sophomore linebacker Charlie Gray with 75 tackles. Alfahiym Walcott (65 tackles, three interceptions) and Kway’Chon Chisom (62 tackles, three interceptions) are Butler’s top secondary players. Up front, Butler has a dominating tandem of Derick Newton (62 tackles, five sacks, 16.5 tackles for losses) and Josh Davies (53 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 11 TFL).