Also, the title game for Region 6 is on Sunday as No. 3 Butler Community College (Kan.), 9-1, plays No. 15 Hutchinson Community College (Kan.), 7-3, in Wichita.
No. 2 Snow College (Utah), 10-0, will also be in action as they host Mesa Community College (Ariz.), 3-7, while No. 4 Georgia Military College, 8-1, travels to Pennsylvania to face Lackawanna College (Pa.), 7-2.
SOUTHWEST JC FOOTBALL CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS
It was just two weeks ago when the No. 1 Bulldogs defeated the then No. 6 Buccaneers 24-21 to earn the SWJCFC regular season title and home field advantage in the conference playoffs. The win marked the fifth victory over a ranked team for Navarro on the season.
The contest was fitting for a battle of two top 10 teams. Navarro busted out to a 21-0 halftime lead, but Blinn battled back to score 21 points of their own. Gabriel Elizando's field goal early in the fourth quarter proved to be the deciding points for the Bulldogs.
Navarro, a team that averages 277 rushing yards a game (2nd in NJCAA), was limited to a season-low 164 rushing yards by the Bucs. However, it was the Navarro defense that sealed the win for the Bulldogs. Linebacker Justin Clark made a diving interception late in the fourth quarter as Blinn All-American quarterback Terrance Cain began marching the Bucs down the field for the potential game-winning score.
Last week, Navarro defeated Trinity Valley Community College (Texas) 31-20 in their SWJCFC semifinal contest. However, Navarro turned the ball over seven times and trailed in the fourth quarter for the first time this season. However, the Bulldogs managed to scored 14 points in the final frame to seal their 10th win of the season.
Meanwhile, Cain led the Bucs to a 52-42 shootout Kilgore College (Texas) in their semifinal contest. Cain passed for over 400 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
Navarro has been plagued with the turnover bug as of late. The Bulldogs have committed 11 turnovers in the last two games. Blinn on the other hand gave up the most points to Kilgore last week, 42, than in any game this season.
The Bulldogs looks to have some added confidence heading into Saturday's game as they get three starters back from injury. Quarterback Milton Howell (shoulder), defensive end Brandon Joiner (hamstring) and offensive tackle Zhamal Thomas (deep thigh bruise) are all slated to return for title game. Howell has passed for 586 yards and three touchdowns this year and has also amassed 436 rushing yards and three additional scores. Joiner is tied for the NJCAA lead with 18 sacks and ranks seventh with 108 total tackles. Thomas has been a major factor for a Bulldog offense that is averaging 425 yards of total offense a contest (5th in the NJCAA).
Blinn has plenty of weapons to give the Bulldogs another stiff challenge. Cain has been playing at a high level all season, completing 71.9 percent of his passes -- which is on pace to break his current NJCAA single season record of 71.1 percent from 2007. His 24 touchdown passes is tied for the nation's lead, while his 2,667 passing yards ranks second.
Justin Jordan is Cain's favorite target. The Plano, Texas, native has 46 receptions this season for 669 yards and seven touchdowns. Dexter Ransom has 31 receptions this season - nine for touchdowns - for 642 yards.
The Bucs also have a great rushing attack thanks to a strong offensive line and the talented Reginald Brown who has 1,125 yards (4th in NJCAA) and eight touchdowns.
Eight different Blinn defensive players have over 30 tackles this season with free safety Byron Landor leading the way with 69 tackles. Defensive end Jarred Price has just 20 tackles this season, but he ranks third in the nation with 14 sacks. Price's bookend teammate Travis Stephens ranks ninth in the nation with 15.5 tackles for loss to go along with 4.5 sacks.
The Navarro - Blinn game is slated for a 3 p.m. kickoff (local time) and can be heard live at www.KANDRadio.com.
REGION 6 Championship
No. 3 Butler will be playing in the Region 6 title game for the third consecutive season and the 10th time in the last 11 years. Meanwhile, No. 15 Hutchinson will be playing in the title game for first time since 1995. Sunday's contest will take place at Wichita's Cessna Stadium at 5 p.m. (local time) and can be heard live at www.kfhradio.com and www.hutchcc.edu/dragons.
In a joint effort with Region VI, the KJCCC and the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, the three groups awarded the television broadcast rights to KWCH-TV (Channel 12) of Wichita. The game will be televised on tape delay at 9 p.m. on Sunday, November 16, on the Kansas CW (KSCW, Channel 33, Cable Channel 5).
The Grizzlies had to come from behind last week to defeat Garden City Community College (Kan.) in their semifinal contest. Butler trailed early in the second quarter 13-7 and was held to just eight yards of offense in the first 25 minutes of the game. Butler took the lead late in the second frame as Grizz quarterback Press Taylor connected with Alex Estes for a 9-yard touchdown pass to take the lead 14-13.
Butler then went up 21-13 in the third quarter after a 77-yard drive was capped off by a one-yard touchdown dive by Lucas Hamm. The Grizzlies went further ahead in the fourth quarter when Logan Ortiz kicked a 32-yard field goal with 10:53 left to go in the game.
However, the Broncbusters would give Butler a real scare as they cut the lead to 24-19 after a touchdown and a failed two-point conversion attempt. Garden City then got the ball back late in fourth quarter and marched down to the Butler five-yard line with 1:38 left to play. With one last shot on fourth-and-goal, Garden City's upset was stopped short as the Grizzly defense deflected the would-be touchdown pass to the ground preserving their ninth win of the season.
Butler's offensive power begins and ends with a solid running game behind a huge offensive line and two talented running backs in Randell Bell and Tywon Hubbard. Bell has rushed for 939 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, while Hubbard has amassed 594 yards and four scores.
Taylor has been very efficient this season behind center. In fact, he is on pace to break the NJCAA single season completion percentage record (71.1% set last year by Blinn's Terrance Cain). Taylor is completing 72.2 percent of his passes and has amassed 1,818 passing yards and 19 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Tyrece Gaines leads the Grizzlies with 439 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
Defensively, Butler ranks third in the NJCAA in total defense (197.1 yards per game). Linebacker Jarrett Wright lead the Grizz and ranks 10th in the NJCAA with 103 total tackles, while defensive lineman Jon Massaquoi is tied for the nation's lead with 18 sacks to go with 88 total tackles.
The Blue Dragons are one of the hottest teams in the country right now. After starting the season 2-3, they have now won five straight, including last week's 30-17 upset win over then No. 9 Fort Scott Community College (Kan.).
Hutchinson controlled the game via a dominant running game. Running backs La'Darrian Page and Chris Clay each rushed for over 100 yards in the contest. Page ran for 136 yards and two scores, while Clay posted a season-high 135 yards and scored his team-leading eighth touchdown.
For the season Page (#9 pictured right) ranks fifth in the NJCAA with 1,124 rushing yards.
The Blue Dragons controlled the ball for 34 minutes, 45 seconds, rolling up 282 rushing yards and 350 total yards against the Jayhawk Conference’s No. 1 defense in Fort Scott that posted five shutouts earlier this season.
Hutchinson's revival this year has been in large part to a stingy defense that allows just 17 points a game. They are allowing just 66 rushing yards a contest (6th in the NJCAA) and have 36 sacks as a team this season.
Jacob Lattimer leads the team with 78 tackles and has 23 tackles for loss this year. Speaking of tackles for loss, no one in the country has taken down more opponents behind the line of scrimmage this season than Eugene Kinlaw. The defensive end has 38 tackles for loss this year to go with eight sacks.
OTHER BIG GAMES THIS WEEKEND
No. 2 Snow College (Utah) ends its season with a home contest against Mesa Community College (Ariz.) at 12 noon (local time. The game can be heard live at www.snowbadgers.com.
The Badgers have already sealed their third consecutive Western States Football League title. Snow ranks eighth in the nation, averaging 386 yards of total offense a game and is 10th in total defense, allowing 223.4 yards a game.
No. 4 Georgia Military will also close out its season on Saturday. The Bulldogs will head north to face Lackawanna College (Pa.). GMC is 8-1 on the year with their only loss being a 25-13 defeat to No. 1 Navarro back in September. Since then, the Bulldogs have scored 40 points or more in five of their seven wins.
Running back Steven Robinson ranks 11th nationally with 100.6 yards per game rushing, which powers a Bulldog offense that ranks fifth in the nation with 432 yards per game.