NJCAA #1 Snow vs. #2 Butler

COLORADO SPRINGS (November 29, 2007) – When the Zions Bank Top of the Mountain Bowl was launched in 2003, organizers knew it would only be a matter of time before they would host the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the contest.

In just four years, those predictions have come true as top ranked Snow College (Utah) will battle second-ranked Butler Community College (Kan.) in the fourth edition of the game on Dec. 1 in Salt Lake City.

The winner of the game will likely be crowned the NJCAA National Champion in the final poll of the 2007 season, which will be released on Dec. 10.

Both teams enter the contest with 11-0 records and both have spent the entire season ranked in the top four of the NJCAA / JC Football.com rankings.

Snow and Butler will battle it out at 12 p.m. MST at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the campus of the University of Utah. KJZZ-TV out of Salt Lake City will broadcast the game live, while those in Kansas can catch the game live on Kansas Now 22. The game will also be streamed live on www.kake.com.

This is the second time Snow and Butler will have met in this bowl game – the Badgers defeated the Grizzlies 17-14 in 2005.

Snow is looking to win its first NJCAA title since 1985, its only national title, while Butler is fighting for its seventh title and second in the last five years (2003).

The Snow Badgers entered the 2007 season as a heavy favorite to take the NJCAA title and they lived up to their No. 2 pre-season ranking by reeling off 11 consecutive wins and taking the Western States Football League title for the second straight season and third time in five years.

Steve Coburn leads the Badgers and has posted a 22-1 record as head coach in just two seasons. He was voted WSFL Coach of the Year in 2006.

The Badgers are very impressive statistically on both sides of the ball. Their offense ranks second in the country, averaging 457 yards per game and scoring 44.8 points per game. Snow also boasts the nation’s second-ranked defense, allowing just 155 total yards and 12.4 points per game.

Running backs Soni Sotele and Niu Takai power the Snow offense. The tandem has combined for 2,239 yards and 26 touchdowns this season. Sotele leads the team and ranks fifth in the nation with 1,317 rushing yards and 18 scores.

Quarterback Jon Eastman has played just six games this season, but has been a big leader of the Snow attack. He has completed 79-of-132 passes for 1,403 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Defensive leaders for the Badgers include linebacker Josh Sharp with 62 tackles, four sacks and one interception, while Coleby Clawson leads the team with eight sacks. Safety Andrew Rich leads the team with 108 tackles and has four interceptions and seven pass breakups.

Impact Players for Snow include:


Name

Pos.

Stats

Honors

Jon Eastman

QB

79-132, 1,403 pass yds, 13 TD

2nd Team All-WSFL

Soni Sotele

RB

1,317 rush yds (5th NJCAA), 18 TD

1st Team All-WSFL

Niu Takai

RB

922 rush yds, 9 TD

 

Adam Frandsen

WR

24 rec., 377 yds, 6 TD

2nd Team All-WSFL

Jason Griswald

C

6-3, 286

1st Team All-WSFL

Andrew Mitchell

OL

6-5, 300

1st Team All-WSFL

Aaron Po’uha

OL

6-4, 320

1st Team All-WSFL

Regan Buck

PR

22 returns, 416 yds (18.9), 1 TD

2nd Team All-WSFL

Coleby Clawson

DL

46 tackles, 13 TFL, 8 sacks

1st Team All-WSFL

Tevita Hola

DL

33 tackles, 5 TFL, 3 sacks

1st Team All-WSFL

Josh Sharp

LB

67 tackles, 18 TFL, 4 sacks

1st Team All-WSFL

Andrew Rich

DB

108 tackles, 4 INT

1st Team All-WSFL


Snow will face their toughest challenge to date when they take their top offense and defense against a Butler squad that brings in the nation’s longest winning streak of 14 games.

Butler recently won its seventh Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference title in ten years and head coach Troy Morrell was named coach of the year for the fourth time in his eight years leading the program.

Like the Badgers, the Grizzlies are solid on both sides of the ball. Butler has one of the best running backs in the nation in Beau Johnson. He ranks third in the NJCAA with 1,546 yards and 16 total touchdowns and is averaging 140.5 yards per contest.

Quarterback Mike Garrison took over the starting job in the middle of the season and has thrown for 741 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. Tyrece Gaines is the leading receiver for Butler with 22 receptions for 400 yards and five touchdowns.

The Grizzly defense is the heartbeat of the Butler team. The unit ranks seventh in the nation, giving up just 226 yards per game. They managed to shutout four opponents this year and at one point during the season did not allow a single point for 15-straight quarters.

Five Grizzly defenders earned All-KJCCC honors, including defensive end Markus White – KJCCC Defensive Player of the Year. White has collected 85 tackles and leads the nation with 24.5 sacks.

Defensive tackle Swanson Miller is excellent at stopping the run. He tallied 74 tackles this year with 5.5 sacks.

In the defensive backfield, cornerback Maurice Gray has nine pass break-ups and four interceptions, while Safety JD Douglas has 61 tackles and four interceptions.

The Butler linbacking unit is led by Mikhail Lindsey who recorded 71 tackles, 5.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries.

Impact Players for Butler include:


Name

Pos.

Stats

Honors

Mike Garrison

QB

54-130, 741 pass yds, 12 TD

KJCCC Honorable Mention

Beau Johnson

RB

1,546 rush yds (3rd NJCAA), 16 TD

1st Team All-KJCCC

Thadd Carson

FB

3 carries, 8 yds

1st Team All-KJCCC

Nate Larkins

TE

5 rec., 44 yds

2nd Team All-KJCCC

Wade Weibert

G

6-5, 295

1st Team All-KJCCC

Erik Dahl

C

6-2, 280

1st Team All-KJCCC

Ryan Dercher

T

6-7, 295

2nd Team All-KJCCC

Jarvis Doleman

G

6-2, 295

2nd Team All-KJCCC

Grady Fowler

K

45-47 PAT, 9 FG made

1st Team All-KJCCC

Markus White

DE

85 tackles, 24.5 sacks (1st NJCAA)

KJCCC Defensive Player of the Year

Swanson Miller

DL

74 tackles, 5.5 sacks

1st Team All-KJCCC

Mikhail Lindsey

LB

71 tackles, 5.5 sacks

2nd Team All-KJCCC

JD Douglas

S

61 tackles, 4 INT

2nd Team All-KJCCC

Maurice Gray

CB

46 tackles, 4 INT, 3 sacks

1st Team All-KJCCC


About the Zions Bank Top of the Mountain Bowl
Zions Bank returns as the title sponsor of the game for the fourth consecutive year. The Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl provides a first class bowl experience for two NJCAA college football teams with preference given to Snow College located in Ephraim, Utah. As long as Snow finishes above .500 they will host the game. Proceeds from the game will go to the Snow College Foundation for general scholarships.

Tickets are $10 for adults, children and senior citizens. University, college and high school students may purchase tickets for $5 with a student ID. To purchase tickets, dial the Snow College athletic office at (435) 283-7020 or visit www.topofthemountainsbowl.com. Tickets will also be available in the Rice-Eccles Stadium ticket office on game day approximately one hour before kickoff.


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