COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- NJCAA post-season football this weekend includes an intriguing match-up between No. 5 Blinn College (Texas), 9-2, and No. 14 Fort Scott Community College (Kan.), 8-2 in the CHAMPS Heart of Texas Bowl on Dec. 6. The game will be played at Bulldawg Stadium in Copperas Cove, Texas, at 2 p.m. and can be heard live online at www.kombfm.com.
Blinn secured an automatic bid into the game with a 49-24 victory over then-No. 1 Navarro College (Texas) on Nov. 15 in the Southwest JC Football Conference title game. Fort Scott accepted the offer to play in the bowl game after finishing 8-2 on the year, including a first-round loss in the Region 6 playoffs. Their two lone setbacks came at the hands of No. 2 Butler Community College (Kan.) and No. 17 Hutchinson Community College (Kan.). Fort Scott is making it third straight bowl appearance. They fell 47-31 to Mesa Community College (Ariz.) in the Valley of the Sun Bowl last season.
The Bucs began the season by defeating pre-season favorite and current No. 2 Butler 23-20 in Wichita. Blinn then held the No. 1 ranking in the NJCAA / JC Football.com Poll for three weeks until they were upended 20-17 in triple overtime by Kilgore College (Texas). Their only other loss came in their regular season finale with Navarro (21-24). This marks Blinn's second post-season bowl appearance in three years. In 2006 they defeated Pearl River (Miss.) 19-6, which gave them the 2006 NJCAA National Championship.
Blinn is led by head coach Brad Franchione (4th year, 35-8), who was named SWJCFC Coach of the Year and led the Bucs to the 2006 title. Blinn is averaging close to 43 points a game and has outscored opponents 477-182 this year.
The Bucs are led by do-it-all quarterback Terrance Cain, who earned NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention honors last season by setting the single-season record for completion percentage (71.1%). That record is being threatened this year by Cain himself as he is currently completing 71.0 percent of his passes. He has thrown for more yards (2,982 yards) and touchdowns (29 TD's) than any other NJCAA quarterback this season. Meanwhile, he also has thrown just eight interceptions.
Justin Jordan is Cain's top receiver with 50 receptions for 685 yards and seven touchdowns. Blinn also has a great running game powered by Reginald Brown who ranks 10th in the NJCAA with 109.3 a game.
Free Safety Bryon Landor is Blinn's top tackler with 102 takedowns (12th NJCAA) while defensive end Jarred Price ranks third in the nation with 17.5 sacks this season. The Buc defense ranks third in the nation in total defense (196.7 yards/game).
Fort Scott has found much success on offense this season via two options: hand the ball to running back Jasmin Hopkins or throwing the ball the Brandon Kinnie. Hopkins amassed 1,175 yards rushing this season (5th in NJCAA) and nine touchdowns while Kinnie caught 56 passes for 815 yards (5th NJCAA) and nine touchdowns.
However, the Greyhound defense has been the team's backbone, ranking seventh in the nation in total defense (215.3 yards/game). At one point during the season Fort Scott had shutout four consecutive opponents and finished with five blanks on the year while allowing just 12.6 points per game.
Linebacker LeVonte David leads the Fort Scott defense with 93 tackles and 12 tackles for loss.