The toughest junior college football conference in the NJCAA expects Blinn to be one of the nation’s top programs once again this fall.
Blinn and Trinity Valley were tied atop the 2012 Southwest Junior College Football Conference coaches’ poll announced during the conference’s annual media day Wednesday. Trinity Valley received three first-place votes and the Buccaneers two as both teams received 56 points in the poll.
Navarro received 49 points and one first-place vote in the poll, and Tyler received 48 points and one first-place vote. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (38), Kilgore (37) and Cisco (31) rounded out the poll.
Fresh off a 9-2 record in their first season under head coach Ronny Feldman, the Buccaneers are looking to build upon two decades of unparalleled success. Since 1994, the Buccaneers have posted a 145-47 record, winning four national championships, 14 conference championships and making 12 bowl appearances, including last year’s showing in the Mississippi Bowl hosted by Biloxi, Miss.
“We’ve got a heck of a tradition here and the players know they’re a part of something special,” Feldman said. “There’s a lot of history here. We’ve got to finish what we’ve started and play well to the last snap.”
The Buccaneers return four all-conference selections from last season. Sophomore place kicker Kurt Walker (Hebron) was a first-team all-conference selection after he finished second in the nation with 67 kicks made in 68 attempts in 2011. He was 8-of-9 in field goals, including an NJCAA-best 56-yarder in Week 4.
Sophomore quarterback Eric Mathews (Brookshire Royal) completed 139 of 206 passes last season for 2,388 yards and 20 touchdowns. He posted a 194.9 pass efficiency while throwing just two interceptions all year. Sophomore defensive back Tevin Broussard (Beaumont Central) earned second-team honors after posting 46 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery, and sophomore linebacker Brandon Thornton (Conroe) was also named to the second team after recording 76 tackles – including nine for a loss – and two sacks.
Blinn’s athletic department is one of the premier programs in the nation, capturing 26 national championships in five different sports. For more information on Blinn athletics, please visit www.buccaneersports.com.
2012 SWJCFC COACHES’ POLL
1. Trinity Valley (3) 56
1. Blinn (2) 56
3. Navarro (1) 49
4. Tyler (1) 48
5. NEO 38
6. Kilgore 37
7. Cisco 31
Points based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4 scoring system. First-place votes in parentheses.