Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College opens its football season tonight with a road game against Garden City (Kan.) Community College.
Kickoff between the Golden Norsemen and Broncbusters is scheduled for 7 at Memorial Stadium.
NEO has a 9-1 advantage in a series that has been dormant since 1993.
The teams ironically have 21 lettermen apiece from last season. NEO, in its inaugural year under Donnie Bigby, finished 3-8 overall in 2009 and 1-5 in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference. Garden City, now in its fourth season under Lucas Aslin, was 4-5 and 3-4 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.
Said Bigby: “Going into this game we’ve been able to determine that there are eight or nine basic things that offensively we do well. Those are throwing out of the three step game, running the power play and the play-action off the power play. Those aren’t all the tricks in our bag. But they are our basics.”
Aslin, meanwhile, praised the linebacking corps, anchored by sophomore Korey Jones, after the Broncbusters’ intrasquad scrimmage last week.
Said Bigby: “They moved around well and did a good job with coverage and getting to the ball. They’re confident and ready to roll. I believe they will be a tough team that wants to run the ball, stop the run on defense and get after you.”
NEO’s top two quarterbacks are freshmen Beau Marsaln, who won the job during preseason after starting in the Oklahoma All-State game in July, and Will Crowder.
Tailback, Bigby said, will be freshman all-stater Terrance Olds.
Scheduled to alternate at wide receiver will be veteran Jermaine Sherman and freshmen DonAvon Dan and Jakiel Everheart. Miami veteran Grant Longcrier will miss the opener after suffering a concussion in last week’s scrimmage at Coffeyville.
Anthony Sparks, a freshman, will start at tight end.
Anchoring the interior offensive line for the Norse will be veterans T.J. Jones and Logan Jones, Bigby said, with sophs Colton Hyde and Tanner Newby. Frosh Jay Davis and Kaden Nicholas (also of Miami) will alternate at center.
Up front at defensive ends will be Leo Gross, a sophomore, and freshman Kenny Garrett. Tackles will be veterans Bobby Pointer and Caleb Thyer (also of Miami).
Outside linebackers will be veteran Eddie General and freshman Justin Lepley. Inside will be sophomore Eric Feemster and freshman Kameron Stewart.
Probable cornerbacks are sophomore Romon Beard and freshman Bryce Ebbs. Colby Ellis, another veteran, will be the safety.
Bigby said the No. 1 strength of Garden City is its defense.
“They have two linemen that are being heavily recruited across the country,” Bigby said. “They have great speed at linebackers and safeties.”