Football News Archive

  • Navarro Football hosts a free Youth Camp for Grades K-5 at Tiger Stadium before the Bulldogs’ Spring Game on Saturday, April 27. Participants will get an opportunity between 8:30 and 9:30 am to work on skills and drills with the Bulldogs. The hour-long youth camp precedes the Bulldogs’ 10 am scrimmage that will conclude 2019 spring workouts. Donations will be accepted to support youth sport scholarships at The Corsicana YMCA. Following the Spring Game, coaches will return to campus to host the second of two Scouting Combines this spring.  Participants and prospects with NJCAA eligibility remaining register for the 2 pm combine at the Wolens Special Events Center.  Cost of the combine is $30 cash.  Participants will be measured and tested in the 40-yard dash, pro shuttle, and other specific or non-specific drills.  

  • Navarro Football has set its two spring scouting combine dates, head coach Scott Parr announced Monday. The first session will be 1 pm Saturday, March 2, with registration at The Wolens Special Events Center. A second session has been scheduled for 2 pm Saturday, April 27. Cost for either session is $30 cash.  

  • By MIKE MONTFORT —   New Navarro College head football coach Scott Parr and the Bulldogs’ coaching staff now have more reason to be excited. On National Signing Day Wednesday, Feb. 6, before 3 pm, they signed 50 incoming freshmen to letters of intent to attend Navarro College and play football for the Bulldogs. NC also announced 19 incoming mid-year transfers, plus 13 outgoing sophomores who signed or transferred to four-year university programs. “I would like to thank Dr. Kevin Fegan and athletic director Michael Landers for their support and with all the resources they have provided us to put this class together,” Parr said, “and I want to thank everyone on campus who helped with our official visits. It takes a team effort. The players felt the family atmosphere here.” Parr noted that it was “our goal to sign two-deep at every position, and we are reaching it.” To restock the defensive side Wednesday, Navarro signed 11 defensive backs, eight linebackers and six defensive linemen. To replenish the offensive side, NC signed seven offensive linemen, two quarterbacks, five running backs, 10 receivers and two kickers. “I want to thank the coaching staff for the tireless work they put in...

  • BY MIKE MONTFORT —  Scott Parr returns to Navarro College as the Bulldogs’ 15th head football coach. Parr last season served as offensive coordinator at NCAA Division I-FCS Eastern Illinois University after a three-year stint in the same capacity at Navarro, where his offensive units ranked among the NJCAA’s Top 10 in yardage and scoring (2015-17). “I know what a special place Navarro is as a school and from an athletics standpoint,” Parr said. “I’ve always had a dream to become a head football coach somewhere, and I was hopeful to have an opportunity. It’s great to be back. “I’m very appreciative of Dr. Kevin Fegan and Athletic Director Michael Landers for their confidence and support,” Parr said. “My family and I are grateful for this opportunity. I’m really pumped up about representing this college and a program with so much tradition that’s produced so many All-Americans and professional players.” Another factor Parr recognizes is his association with NC’s current assistant coaches. “I know most everyone on that very talented, hard-working staff,” he said. “Familiarity is a big thing and automatically helps the process of stepping in.” “We are excited to have Scott become the next leader of our Bulldog...

  • Former Navarro College head football coach Jim Gush officially was named new defensive coordinator at McNeese State on Thursday, Jan. 4. Gush resigned here December 14 after coaching the 2018 Bulldogs to a 6-5 record, the SWJCFC Semifinals, and a berth in the 10th annual Salt City Bowl at Hutchinson, Ks.  He had been promoted after one season as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator. Gush was among early target choices on coach Sterlin Gilbert’s newly assembled staff at McNeese.  Gilbert, the former University of South Florida Offensive Coordinator, had been hired Wednesday, Dec. 5, by the Lake Charles, La., school as its new head coach.  Upon taking the job, Gilbert scrambled to put together an entirely new coaching cadre, as well as hold and attract recruits during the NCAA’s early signing period, December 19-21. Joining Gush on McNeese’s staff is a former Bulldog assistant, Jimmy Fowler, who was named as the Cowboys’ new Director of Football Operations. Gush was the third Southwest Junior College Football Conference head coach to resign after NJCAA Bowl Weekend, Dec 1-2. On Tuesday, Dec. 4, Danny Palmer resigned after 13 seasons at Tyler, but will continue to work in TJC’s athletic department. On Thursday, Dec. 12,...

  • For the fifth time in the last eight years, Navarro has placed three players on the NJCAA All-American Football Team. The mythical squad, revealed Tuesday, Dec. 18, one day before the start of the early signing period, features Navarro quarterback Parker McNeil (first team), offensive lineman Josh Cooper (second team) and wide receiver Jared Wyatt (honorable mention). Navarro now has a total of 88 NJCAA Football All-Americans in its history, with a breakdown of 43 first-teamers, 20 second-teamers and 25 honorable-mention selections. McNeil is the second Navarro quarterback to earn NJCAA first-team All-American honors, and the first since 1999 when Jeremy Denson claimed the honors. Cooper follows Levon Livingston as back-to-back All-American offensive linemen. Wyatt becomes the first Navarro wide receiver to earn All-American notation since 2011 when Marquez Clark established then-NJCAA single-season records for catches (96) and yardage (1658). MORE INFORMATION: Navarro individual career and single-season football records have been updated through the conclusion of the 2018 season.

  • HUTCHINSON, Ks. — Quarterback Khalil McClain rushed for 185 yards and two first-half touchdowns to lift Hutchinson to a 35-6 win Saturday in The 10th Annual Salt City Bowl Game at Gowans Stadium. McClain failed to complete any of eight pass attempts on a miserably cold and blustery day, but he walked away with Offensive MVP honors after a first half in which he scored on runs of 72 and 65 yards and led the Blue Dragons to a 21-6 halftime lead. Even when he went out with injury for one play, McClain impacted the game.  His replacement, Mason Shucker, threw a short pass to Rico Nix, who tight-roped the sideline 68 yards for a third big-play touchdown during the first 30 minutes. Shucker’s completion was the only one by the Blue Dragons Saturday. Navarro struggled to 199 yards offense and suffered four turnovers (two fumbles and two interceptions). The Bulldogs managed only 37 rushing yards on 31 attempts. Navarro’s only score came with 1:40 remaining in the second quarter when receiver Jared Wyatt caught his 10th TD of the year on a 28-yard pass from quarterback Parker McNeil.  McNeil completed 23-of-40 passes for 161 yards with the TD and two...

  • HUTCHINSON, Ks. — Coach Jim Gush’s Navarro Bulldogs (6-4) Wednesday morning accepted an invitation to play 13th-ranked Hutchinson (8-3) in the 10th Annual Salt City Bowl at Gowans Stadium in Hutchinson, Ks., on December 1. The Bulldogs will be making their 20th bowl appearance, and first at the Salt City Bowl.  Kickoff is set for 1 pm CST. Navarro is 13-5-1 in bowl games, with a six-game winning streak. The Bulldogs last appeared in the 2013 Brazos Valley Bowl and defeated Hinds CC, Ms., 34-27, at Merrill Green Stadium in Bryan. NC’s bowl winning streak began in 2007 with a 24-21 win over Georgia Military in the Pilgrim’s Pride Bowl at Sam Parker Field in Mount Pleasant. Navarro won Heart of Texas Bowls in 2009, 2011 and 2012; and the Citizens Bank Bowl in Pittsburg, Ks., for the 2010 NJCAA Championship. The Bulldogs and Hutchinson have met twice previously. They played two seasons (2012 and 2013) in the old season-opening Kansas-SWJCFC Challenge Series. Navarro won 54-34 at Corsicana in 2012, and 41-16 at Hutchinson in 2013. Hutchinson will be making its 21st all-time bowl appearance — their last eight in the Salt City Bowl.  The Blue Dragons are 11-7-2 in bowl...

  • By MIKE MONTFORT    — Quarterback Parker McNeil’s selection as league MVP highlights a list of 16 Navarro football players named to the 2018 All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference team chosen by the league’s coaches. Coach Jim Gush’s SWJCFC Semifinalist Bulldogs (6-4) placed five (5) on the first-team, seven (7) on the second unit and four (4) honorable mention selections. McNeil, whose 298.9 passing yards per game and 26 touchdowns ranked second statistically in the NJCAA, became the second Navarro player in as many seasons to earn a conference superlative award. Last year, Benjie Franklin was selected as the league’s ‘Defensive Player of the Year’. McNeil completed 62 percent of his passes (226-363-2989-26) as Navarro’s starter.  His statistics rank second in completions and third in attempts, yardage and TD passes in a single season at Navarro. McNeil had an NC-record passing day of 552 yards against TVCC during the regular-season finale that helped to catapult the Bulldogs into the SWJCFC playoffs. Joining McNeil on the mythical all-conference first team were wide receiver Jared Wyatt, offensive lineman Josh Cooper, defensive lineman Trevon Mason, and defensive back Josh Morgan. Wyatt caught 57-970-9, and with Kaylon Geiger, created a 1-2 receiving tandem that...

  • By MIKE MONTFORT   — ATHENS — Navarro quarterback Parker McNeil threw for a school-record 552 yards while the Bulldogs rallied from a 15-point deficit and scored 31 unanswered points to finish a 47-31 playoff-qualifying win over TVCC. McNeil completed 29-of-45 passes and threw six touchdown passes. His completions, yardage and TD totals were personal-best games at NC. McNeil threw TD passes to six different players, and he sprayed passes to 11 different receivers as Navarro (6-3) won its third straight game.  He fired TD passes of 26 to Corey Smallwood, 78 to Jared Wyatt, 31 to Keaton Dudik, 30 to Josh Lister, 62 to Kaylon Geiger and five to Gregory Clayton. McNeil surpassed the pass-yardage mark of Adrian Nelson, who completed 28-of-44-542-6 in a 55-51 loss to TVCC at Bruce Field on October 29, 2011. McNeil’s top targets Saturday were Geiger (9-208-1) and Wyatt (5-141-1). NC’s 1-2 receiving tandem now has combined for 106 catches through nine games. Geiger missed most of the second quarter, but managed to record the first 200-yard-plus receiving game for Navarro since 2015 when Del’Michael High (Tarleton) caught 9-202-1 during a 69-55 loss at Tyler. Wyatt’s totals came in the first half. Navarro snapped TVCC’s...

  • By MIKE PHILLIPS / Corsicana Sun It’s as complicated as you want to make it, or as simple as 1-2-3. For Jim Gush and his Navarro Bulldogs the wild traffic jam in the conference standings and all the could-be scenarios that could keep you up at night really don’t matter. “The main thing for us is to concentrate on our team,” said Gush, whose Dawgs are so close to a playoff berth they can taste it. They’re 3-3 in a conference race that could end up with four teams tied for the final playoff berths, or end simply enough with the Dawgs claiming a playoff spot with a victory at Trinity Valley in next week’s final regular season game and a loss by Kilgore. That’s simple enough. If Kilgore (3-2) loses one of its final two games (the Rangers play at Blinn Saturday and at home next week against Tyler) and the Dawgs win in Athens next week, Navarro is in the playoffs. “There are a lot of scenarios,” Gush said. “There could be four teams tied with tiebreakers and even a coin flip. But we have to win, and that’s our focus. That’s his message to his team, and...

  • By MIKE MONTFORT They weathered every storm the tumultuous Saturday had to offer – heavy rains, tornado sightings, delays, distractions, mistakes, overtime – and ultimately, NMMI. In a game finish that may have been more erratic than the weather conditions, Navarro (5-3/3-3) managed to survive all the threats and escape league injury during homecoming with a 56-49 win over the New Mexico Military Institute Broncos. Tre Brown’s third interception of the game ended overtime and denied Cody Frampton a potential sixth touchdown pass on his fourth-down heave into the end zone. Frampton, facing fourth-and-goal from Navarro’s nine-yard line, scrambled out of the pocket to his right to avoid Trevon Mason’s pressure, and lofted a throwback for receiver Kaleo Aloha Piceno in the left corner of the end zone.  The 5-foot-10 Piceno first appeared to out-jump 5-foot-9 Brown for possession of the football, but Brown, an Arlington sophomore, was ruled in possession when the battling players fell to the south end zone turf. Aloha meant goodbye to the Broncos’ bid for a road victory, and also goodbye for Brown, who made a jet-propulsion sprint out of the end zone to celebrate with his jubilant teammates after the final play that secured...

  • By MIKE MONTFORT Navarro scored four touchdowns within a 2:56 span of the first period and cruised to a 70-8 non-conference win Saturday over the Texas A&T Drillers.Coach Jim Gush’s Bulldogs led 49-8 at halftime. The teams agreed to play 10-minute quarters with running clock during the second half of the game. The Bulldogs amassed 19 first downs on 37 offensive plays, resulting in 463 yards. Quarterbacks Parker McNeil, Michael Massarella and Zadock Dinkelmann combined to complete 9-of-10 passes for 191 yards and 4 touchdowns.  After McNeil completed 6-of-7 for 108 yards and three scores in the first half, Massarella took snaps during the third period and Dinkelmann came on in the final quarter. Jared Wyatt caught TD passes of 19 and 27 from McNeil in the first period. Josh Lister snagged a 27-yard scoring pass from McNeil in the second quarter. Massarella, during a 16-play third period, threw a 51-yard scoring pass to Keaton Dudik for his first TD of the season. Dudik accounted for 120 yards offense and three touchdowns. He scored on first-half scoring runs of 61 and 4 yards before making the TD reception. Jordan Humphrey led Navarro rushers with 11-109-2. NC’s defense contributed a score...

  • MIAMI, Ok. — Tenth-ranked Northeastern Oklahoma A&M stopped high-powered Navarro on three field goals Saturday, and used Tommy Heatherly’s 39-yard field goal with 7:56 left as a difference as the Golden Norsemen edged the Bulldogs, 10-9. NEO (4-1/2-1) scored the game’s only touchdown after its opening drive as Tariq Bitson caught a 25-yard Clayton Sims pass to end a nine-play, 52 yard march with 10:51 left in the first period. The Golden Norsemen were held scoreless on nine consecutive drives until Heatherly was called upon in the fourth quarter to hit his second field goal of the season. Coach Jim Gush’s Bulldogs (3-3/2-3) battled through some missed opportunities, but kept chipping away at NEO’s lead as freshman Jace Ingram nailed field goals in each of the final three periods of play. Ingram, who missed a 41-yard, first-quarter attempt, connected on 37, 38, and 38-yard attempts. Ingram’s 37-yarder in the second period occurred at the end of a 14-play, 63-yard drive of 6:05.  He added a 39-yarder with 2:14 left in the third quarter that pulled NC within 7-6. Following a shanked punt that gave NEO position near midfield, Heatherly countered with a 39-yard field goal at the end of a...

  • By TODD WILLS / Special To The Sun Jace Ingram has made one field goal in a game in his life. That is was a 30-yard, game-winning field goal with one second left to propel No. 18 Navarro to a 31-29 victory over No. 15 Georgia Military on Thursday night is almost hard to believe. Especially considering the 18-year-old freshman had a 32-yard field goal attempt get blocked earlier in the fourth quarter. “I was really speechless to be honest,” said Ingram of his season-opening heroics at Tiger Stadium. Ingram expected to redshirt this season, but he beat out two other kickers for the job.  He handled only kickoffs as a senior at Melissa High School because of an injury to his right leg.  He never tried a field goal as a junior because his coach liked to go for it on fourth down. He made made all four of his extra points against Georgia Military, but that doesn’t prepare a kicker for the pressure he faced with the Bulldogs trailing 29-28 after leading most of the game.  Especially when your previous field goal attempt comes right back at you, like the one that was blocked with 11:41 left in...

  • INDIANAPOLIS — Former Navarro College offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb on Monday signed a free-agent contract to play with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Webb (6-7, 331) joined his sixth NFL club.  The former seventh-round draft choice from West Texas A&M via Navarro College replaces injured offensive lineman Jared Machorro, who was waived from the Colts’ roster. Webb has started 64 of the 80 career games that he has played in the NFL.  He’s spent time with the Seattle Seahawks (2016), Oakland Raiders (2015), Kansas City Chiefs (2014), Minnesota Vikings (2013-14) and the Chicago Bears (2010-12). Webb started 44 of 46 games he played with Chicago after the Bears selected him with the 218th overall pick of the 2010 draft. Machorro was an undrafted free-agent signee from Texas A&M-Commerce, where the two-time all-conference selection was named Lone Star Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2017.

  • LINDALE — Razor-close polls released Friday at SWJCFC Media Day put the Navarro Bulldogs in July as a contender for the league’s post-season tournament. The SWJCFC’s eight head coaches picked Navarro second with two-first place ballots and 49 total points.  Meanwhile, 11 voting members of the media selected the Bulldogs fourth with two first-place ballots and 63 points. A total of three points separate the predicted top four by the coaches.  A total of 11 points separate a projected qualifying final four from media members.  The spreads indicate from both voting groups that the league race will be a battle for a third straight season. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M was selected as the league’s No. 1 team by coaches and media members.         

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Sun Photos By Keith Speer Navarro held its first spring game under new coach Jim Gush last Saturday and the Bulldogs appeared pretty salty on both sides of the ball. Gush served a year as the Bulldog defensive coordinator before he took over the program from three-year head coach Cody Crill in January. Crill exited to become the offensive coordinator at Incarnate Word. A longtime defensive assistant at Baylor, SMU, Kansas State and Iowa State, Gush is very familiar with junior college football. Gush spent 16 seasons at Garden City, Kan., the final three as head coach when he lead his team to a 29-7 record and three top 10 finishes in the NJCAA poll. Gush stressed the basics during his first spring as the Bulldog head coach and he was pleased with the effort and willingness to learn from his charges. “We had a productive spring,” Gush said after the game at Tiger Stadium. “We got something out of all 20 practices. We really worked on the fundamentals on both sides, especially our base and pad level. We stressed the fundamentals during spring practices. Hunter McWilliams was elevated to offensive coordinator...

  • Former Navarro Bulldog and University of Texas Longhorn Lourde-Quincy Vasser,  by way of The Spring League (TSL) in Austin, will get opportunities to participate in — not one, but two — professional football rookie mini-camps. Vasser, who played defensive end for Navarro during 2013 and 2014 seasons, will get opportunities with the NFL’s Washington Redskins and also with the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders. Vasser earned NJCAA Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference honors in 2014 on the heels of a 9-3 freshman season when the Bulldogs defeated Hinds Community College, Ms., for the Brazos Valley Bowl Championship. Vasser transferred to the University of Texas in Austin and played 19 games in two seasons there.  He began as a defensive end in 2015. but transitioned to tight end and special teams play in 2016. After his UT career, Vasser largely has been helped by the exposure from joining TSL, an elite, three-week developmental league and scouting event for professional football talent in the Austin area.  TSL’s exposure is broadened with its two-year livestreaming contract from Turner Sports, providing a direct-to-consumer platform. All teams in TSL use the same location for practices and games, allowing NFL scouts, GMs...

  • Former Navarro College and University of Texas offensive lineman Tristan Nickelson accepted a rookie camp invitation from the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to a report Monday from Jeff Howe at Horns247. A source close to Nickelson told Horns 247 following the NFL draft that Nickelson’s agents were looking at three different deals late Saturday night, but the 6-foot-6, 315-pound offensive tackle ultimately agreed to attend the Bucs’ rookie mini-camp. Nickelson, who earned All-SWJCFC honors in 2014 during a 6-3 season for Navarro, appeared in 30 games over three seasons for the Longhorns. He joins Baylor’s Maurice “Mo” Porter (Buffalo) as former NC players who signed undrafted free-agent deals with NFL clubs. Nickelson heading to Tampa brings the number of Longhorns headed to the NFL to 11 as he joins a group with fellow free agents Antwuan Davis (Detroit), Poona Ford (Seattle), Armanti Foreman (Minnesota), Jason Hall (Seattle), Holton Hill (Minnesota) and Naashon Hughes (Green Bay) — plus the four draft picks:  Connor Williams (Dallas), Malik Jefferson (Cincinnati), Michael Dickson (Seattle), and DeShon Elliott (Baltimore). Nickelson had a unique, beat-the-odds journey to the NFL. Lightly recruited from League City Clear Falls High School, he chose to attend Fork Union Military...

  • Former Navarro College and Baylor University offensive lineman Maurice ‘Mo’ Porter signed an undrafted free-agent contract with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills on Saturday. The Bills had 78 players on their roster after completing an eight-man draft class, leaving spots open for up to a dozen priority free agents barring any more roster moves, according to the Buffalo News. Porter, a 6-foot-6, 310-pounder, played in all 12 games with 11 starts at left tackle last season.  A two-year letterman at Baylor, Porter was a dominant lineman and No. 1 rated junior college prospect in Texas per 247Sports from Navarro.  The former national Top-200 prospect out of high school signed with Baylor in its 2013 recruiting class. Porter played two seasons at Navarro under coach Brian Mayper and offensive line coach Cody Crill.  Coming out of Navarro, Porter was ranked 15th by 247Sports, 27th on ESPN JC50, 57th on Rivals JC 100 and 62nd by Scout.  During his sophomore season at Navarro, Porter graded 83 percent with eight knockdowns and two pancakes for a 7-3 Bulldog squad. The Fort Bend Marshall High School product started playing football as a sophomore and played three seasons for head coach James Williams. —compiled from combined...

  • By JOHN OEHSER, Senior Writer, jaguars.com JACKSONVILLE – D.J. Hayden has a difficult task. He also has the pedigree – and confidence — to handle it, and the sixth-year veteran cornerback said he understands the importance of doing so. Hayden, who spent last season with the Detroit Lions, on Thursday morning officially signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent. He will have a chance to fit into one of the NFL’s best secondaries. He also will have a chance to do so as the team’s nickel corner. “I’m coming in to work hard and make plays,” Hayden said Thursday shortly after officially signing with the Jaguars. “They already have one of the best defenses, a top 5 defense in the league.  I’m just going to be an addition to that.” Hayden (5-feet-11, 190 pounds), a first-round selection (No. 12 overall) by the Oakland Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft, may replace veteran Aaron Colvin at the Jaguars’ nickel corner position. Colvin reportedly will sign with the Houston Texans as an unrestricted free agent. Hayden, who played collegiately at Houston, spent his first four NFL seasons with the Raiders and started of 25 of 45 games. He intercepted three...

  • The Los Angeles Chargers welcome Keith Burns among four new coaches for coach Anthony Lynn’s staff next season. Burns transitioned from playing to coaching a little more than 10 years ago.  Burns, a former Bulldog, starred at Oklahoma State before becoming a 7th-round draft pick.  Burns played 11 of his 13 NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos. Before becoming the special teams assistant for the Chargers, Burns worked in a similar capacity for a year in Washington on coach Mike Shanahan’s staff.

  • Navarro Football hosts its annual spring combines on March 3 and on April 7. Registration on each Saturday begins at 11:30 am at the Wolens Special Events Center. Cost is $30 cash. Candidates will be tested in the 40-yard dash, pro shuttle, non-contact drills and position-specific drills.  All combine participants should bring football cleats, tennis shoes and work out clothing.

  • Navarro College signed a balanced recruiting class of 44 freshmen under new Head Coach Jim Gush last week. Less than two weeks after taking over as the Bulldogs’ coach, Gush and his staff put together a group of signees that filled a lot of holes on defense, along an offensive line that lost five players who signed Division 1 and 2 letters of intent recently and several prolific running backs. Navarro inked seven wide receivers and offensive linemen and five running backs but just one quarterback on a roster that has no one who has thrown a pass in college competition. The Bulldogs also signed nine high schoolers to fill a huge void in the secondary, which lost a pair of All-Americans in safety Matt Wright (Southeast Louisiana) and cornerback Benjie Franklin (Texas A&M Commerce). Franklin is the reigning SWJCFC Defensive Player of the Year and Wright was among the NJCAA’s leaders in tackles in both seasons. Navarro also added seven defensive linemen and six linebackers, the latter in hopes to find another Yohance Burnett, a Tulsa signee. The Bulldogs also picked up five mid-term transfers, headed by Bowling Green redshirt freshman Jared Wyatt. The 6-3, 180-pound Wylie East grad...

  • Here is an updating list of incoming freshman athletes who have signed national letters of intent to attend Navarro College and play football for the Bulldogs.  The signees are listed with heights, weights, positions and hometown schools in parentheses. SIGNED LOIs:   45    (Updated at Monday, February 12) NAME (Height, Weight, Position, Hometown/School) EMMANUEL SADALA – (6-0, 280, DL, Arlington Martin) A.J. SKERO – (6-2, 180, OLB, New Caney) GREGORY CLAYTON – (5-11, 175, WR, Lutcher, La.) KRISTOPHER ESTEP – (6-6, 300, OL, McKinney) TIREN FORNEY – (6-2, 240, DL, Nederland) KAMRON BROOKS – (6-4, 315, OL, Converse Judson) MARK EVANS II – (6-4, 290, OL, Houston C.E. King) CALEB DABNEY – (5-9, 170, WR, Rockwall) ALEX WASHINGTON – (6-2, 170, WR, Houston C.E. King) GARRION FULLER – (6-2, 230, LB, Dallas Bishop Lynch) DAVID RUSS – (5-10, 165, CB, Spring) PAUL SMITH – (6-1, 175, CB, Spring) JUSTIN STEWART – (6-1, 310, DT, McKinney Boyd) JAKOB ROWLAND – (6-7, 326, OL, Northwest Eaton) IMIOAN JAMES – (6-1, 200, LB, Mansfield) NAKEVEYION VINCENT – (5-11, 335, NG, Waco High) KARL ANDREWS – (6-4, 220, DE, Mesquite Poteet) DERRASHIO (DEZ) BRIDGEFORD – 5-11, 186, S, Mesquite Poteet) ELI WALL –...

  • BY MIKE MONTFORT Navarro College on Friday named defensive coordinator Jim Gush as the Bulldogs’ 14th head football coach, and also promoted two staff members to coordinator positions. Assistant head coach Hunter McWilliams was named as Navarro’s new offensive coordinator, and defensive line coach Chris Achuff accepted the defensive coordinator job, NC Athletic Director Roark Montgomery said Friday afternoon. The elevations evolved after Cody Crill resigned Monday to become The University of Incarnate Word’s new offensive coordinator.  Crill told the Bulldogs his intentions in a 2 pm team meeting Monday. His last official day at Navarro was Friday. “It’s been almost 10 years, and I really appreciate the opportunity that I’ve been able to coach and raise my daughters here,” said Crill, who compiled a three-year head-coaching record of 19-11 with two post-season appearances.  “It’s been great to be a part of championships and to win a national championship.” The San Angelo native  led the 17th-ranked Bulldogs to a 6-4 record and the 2017 Southwest Junior College Football Conference semifinal playoffs. His 2016 squad (6-3) finished as the NJCAA’s ninth-ranked team. Since Crill’s arrival here as an offensive line coach, the Bulldogs have an 87-24 record, won the 2010 NJCAA...

  • By MIKE MONTFORT —   Semester and season over.  Exams complete.  Holiday break ahead to decompress.  Stress relieved. Not now. Not for football players, who began an “Early Signing Period” on Wednesday, Dec. 20, and the Navarro Bulldogs were very active participants. On the first day of signing, a total of 10 Bulldog football players inked national letters of intent to play at seven university-level programs — all confirmed from the receiving schools.  Meanwhile, some other Bulldogs made verbal commitments, and others with multiple offers face some important decisions in the days ahead. Six offensive and four defensive stars from the 6-4 SWJCFC semifinalists fulfilled their obligations by signing on the dotted lines Wednesday. In this, the giving season, a lot of people celebrated Christmas early for a number of reasons. Southern Methodist University and new head coach Sonny Dykes signed three Navarro players — Corsicana linebacker-punter Trevor Denbow, plus sophomore offensive tackle Levon Livingston and center Nick Dennis. Eastern Illinois University and new offensive coordinator Scott Parr swooped in to sign sophomore wide receiver Matt Reyna and quarterback Harry Woodbery.  Reyna and Woodbery spent two seasons with Parr here, have an understanding of his air-raid offensive scheme, and feel...

  • COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. — Three sophomore members of coach Cody Crill’s Navarro football team were selected Tuesday as NJCAA All-Americans. Offensive tackle Levon Livingston and defensive back Benjie Franklin landed slots on the mythical first-team, and running back DeAndre Cook claimed a spot on the honorable mention list. Livingston, a Washington D.C. product who originally signed with The University of Kentucky, prospered during his two years here on an offensive line that helped to churn out 465 yards and 36 points per game in 2017.  Stock rises on the 6-foot-8 first-team All-SWJCFC lineman, who has more than a handful of scholarship opportunities at major Division I programs to consider. Franklin, the SWJCFC Defensive Player of the Year, adds more post-season honors after a 2017 season when he made 62 tackles, 4 tackles for losses, picked off six passes and broke up 19 passing plays from the cornerback position.  His six interceptions ranked fourth in the NJCAA. Cook led the Bulldogs in rushing (201-1133-14) and in all-purpose yardage (135.8 per game), and was second in scoring with 84 points.  The Arlington Bowie product gained more than 100-yards rushing in seven of 10 outings, including five straight to close the 10-game season. ...

  • Defensive backs coach Patrick Resby was honored Thursday by GridironRR.com’s selection as one of the top NJCAA football assistant coaches during the 2017 campaign. According to GridironRR,com, the selection of Resby was “based on player performance, having multiple success stories at the position and playing a mjor role in the turnaround or continued success of their respected programs.” Resby coached sophomore first-team All-SWJCFC defenders in Defensive Player of the Year Benjie Franklin.  Matt Wright earned all-conference honors two seasons.  Other players recently who earned all-conference honors under Resby also went on to play at the next level, such as Aaron Foy, Aaron Brown and Braylon Thorns (2015) and Devin Spurlock (2014). Resby, an All-Greater Houston all-district player at Forest Brook High School, played two years at  Navarro and two more at The University of Kansas.  Prior to joining the Navarro staff, Resby spent two years as a graduate assistant on Ray Woodard’s Lamar University staff.  Before that, the Houston native spent time with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent. Resby, who played on Woodard’s defense here under head coach Chuck Lawrence at NC, played safety for the Jayhawks in 2007 and 2008. While at Navarro, Resby was ranked among the nation’s top...

  • MIAMI, Ok. — Sophomore cornerback Benjie Franklin was selected as the Southwest Junior College Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and his Bulldog teammates claimed 24 other positions on the All-SWJCFC Team released Sunday. Coach Cody Crill’s SWJCFC Semifinalists (6-4) took six first-team positions, six second-team slots,  12 honorable mentions and a superlative on the mythical post-season squad selected by league coaches. In addition to the graphics detailing Navarro honorees, readers can view and copy a complete PDF list by clocking on the link:   SWJCFC 2017 All Conference  

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Sun                                    Keith Speer Photos ATHENS — Navarro’s road to the postseason was too long and arduous to let a 31-7 halftime deficit to keep the resilient Bulldogs from making a game of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference semifinal at Trinity Valley. The No. 14-ranked Bulldogs (6-4) rallied for more than 315 yards and 27 points in the second half, but it was failures in the return game and key penalties that ended Navarro’s season at Bruce Field, 47-34.  The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for NC, which had climbed back as the No. 14 team in the most recent NJCAA Football Poll. Behind the running of back DeAndre Cook (160 yards, three touchdowns) and key passes from quarterback Harry Woodberry (23 of 43 for 236 yards) the Bulldogs rallied in the second half to close within 11 twice. But Navarro could not overcome a whopping 301 Trinity Valley return yards and seven drives that started at the Cardinal 40 or better. Five times No. 7 Trinity Valley (8-2) opened a series inside Bulldog...

  • ROSWELL, N.M. — DeAndre Cook carried 33 times for 183 yards and a touchdown, powering Navarro past New Mexico Military Institute, 34-21, on Saturday. It was the fifth straight victory for the No. 18-ranked Bulldogs, who enter the SWJCFC playoffs next week as the No. 4 seed. Trinity Valley, Northeastern Oklahoma and Blinn are tied for first with 5-2 records. Navarro is 6-3 overall and 4-3 in league play. Navarro will play at Trinity Valley in the SWJCFC semifinals, and Blinn and NEO will face off for the second week in a row in the other semi. Navarro’s defense, which held NMMI to 61 yards in the first half, struck first when Imhotep Wilson returned a botched punt 21 yards for a touchdown at the 8:26 mark of the opening frame. Benigno Heredia added the first of two field goals with 7:26 left in the second quarter. Heredia added to his school record with a 28-yarder in the waning moments of the game. Cook, who lost a fumble in the end zone in the first quarter, nearly lost another one with 5:53 showing in the second period. Cook drove to the goal line but fumbled. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, receiver...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Sun   — Navarro took another large step in its improbable odyssey toward a playoff spot on Saturday when it rolled over Kilgore 52-17 on Saturday at Tiger Stadium. The Bulldogs limited the Rangers to only 232 yards and 13 first downs in a game that was not as close as the final indicates. Navarro (4-3 overall, 2-3 in the SWJCFC) received a little help in its postseason bid on Saturday when No. 4 Trinity Valley roared past Tyler, 55-6. Navarro holds the tiebreaker on the previously unbeaten Apaches thanks to last week’s resounding 37-26 win on the road. The believer bus continues next week at Cisco (2-5, 1-4) and then a final game in two weeks at New Mexico Military (2-5, 0-5). Cisco lost 41-35 at home to winless Arkansas Baptist on Saturday, the same team Navarro trounced 71-6. Navarro raced to a 38-2 lead at the half against Kilgore in a completely dominant two quarters. While gaining 184 yards on the ground and 277 yards overall, Navarro limited Kilgore to only three first downs and 27 total yards. Running back DeAndre Cook scored three touchdowns in the first half, starting...

  • TYLER — The Navarro Bulldogs rallied from a 24-point deficit and outscored TJC 37-2 in the final 31 minutes to hand the No. 2 ranked Apaches their first loss of the year. Navarro’s 37-26 come-from-behind victory at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium re-opened the Southwest Junior College Football Conference race and the battle for four post-season playoff positions during the final three weeks of the regular season. NC pulled its season record to 3-3 with its first SWJCFC victory (1-3), heading into the Bulldogs’ final regular-season home game next Saturday against the Kilgore Rangers.  The Apaches, which fell to 5-1 and 3-1, next will play fourth-ranked Trinity Valley at Bruce Field in Athens on Saturday. Navarro struggled out of the gates Saturday and trailed 24-0 after being frustrated on its first seven possessions with four three-and-out series and another that ended with a lost fumble. Things began to unravel for TJC when it had some sideline clock management issues combine with three three-and-out series inside the final 4:15 of the half. The Apaches seemed to dominate play until 0:57 remained in the first half when Navarro’s Jeffrey McCutcheon blocked a punt and Elliot Albert recovered in the end zone....

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Corsicana Sun    — It was an offensive coordinator’ s best dream that doesn’t include his wife, kids and a Heisman winner begging to transfer to your college. The Navarro offense, much-maligned for its consistency and the inability to convert in the red zone, slammed into another gear on Saturday as the Bulldogs snapped a three-game losing streak with a 71-6 homecoming victory over Arkansas Baptist at Tiger Stadium. The Bulldogs set season highs in, well, just about every offensive category. Total offense (716 yards). Passing yards (386 yards on 23-of-42 passing). Rushing (330 yards on 55 carries). First downs (34, 17 in each half). That offensive explosion gives Navarro renewed confidence entering next week’s key matchup on the road with No. 4 Tyler, a must-win game if the Bulldogs hope to make the postseason. Tyler rallied from 15 points down in the final 26 minutes to slip past No. 6 Blinn on the road, 34-22. Navarro (2-3 overall, 0-3 in the SWJCFC) will enter Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium with a stagger for the first time in weeks after putting up huge numbers against an outmatched Arkansas Baptist team. Quarterback Harry Woodbery is one of...

  • Northeastern Oklahoma A&M erupted for 24 unanswered points during a 12-minute span of the first half and earned a 40-30 victory Saturday over Navarro College at Tiger Stadium. Coach Clay Patterson’s Golden Norsemen (2-2, 2-2 ) erased a 10-point first-period deficit to secure their first win over the Bulldogs in Corsicana since 2003 when they posted a 21-13 win at old Tiger Field. NEO had lost six straight to Navarro in Corsicana. Coach Cody Crill’s Bulldogs (1-3, 0-3) have lost their first three Southwest Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) games for the first time since coach Chuck Lawrence’s 2004 club that finished 4-5 overall. The Bulldogs’ offensive struggles continued Saturday. NC penetrated the NEO 40-yard line on nine occasions, lost fumbles three times, turned the ball over on downs once and also punted — one of eight on the day.  The Bulldogs outgained NEO substantially in offensive yards (436 to 349) and outdistanced the Golden Norsemen in first downs (26-18), but couldn’t establish enough rhythm and consistency to find the end zone. Navarro struck first, building a 10-0 lead on Harry Woodberry’s 21-yard pass to Matt Reyna and Benigno Heredia’s 26-yard field goal midway through the first quarter. The defense...

  • BRENHAM — Carlos Grace rushed for 178 yards on 28 carries and scored twice as the Blinn Buccaneers defeated 10th-ranked Navarro, 27-12, in a Southwest Junior College Football Conference game Saturday at Cub Stadium. Coach Ryan Mahon’s Buccaneers improved to 2-0 overall and in conference play, while coach Cody Crill’s Bulldogs suffered their second straight loss and fell to 1-2 overall, 0-2 in league play. Blinn quarterback Devin Williams completed 11 of 23 passes for 182 yards and a second-period touchdown pass of 25 yards to Dandre Reed. All scoring occurred during the first half. Navarro’s offense totaled 334 yards, but did not produce points. The Bulldogs took a 6-0 lead with linebacker Yohance Burnett recovered a fumble and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown three minutes into the game. Grace plunged in from one yards for the tying touchdown at 5:42 of the first period and Ryan Buckley’s conversion kick gave the Buccaneers a lead they never would relinquish.  Blinn’s first touchdown was set up by Williams’ 32-yard pass to Quinton Newton. Buckley and Navarro’s Benigno Heredia swapped a pair of field goals.  Buckley hit from 22 and 33 yards; Heredia, from 21 and 26. NC had several...

  • By MIKE MONTFORT       — Khalil Banks scored the game-winning touchdown on a three-yard run with 1:54 to play, lifting fourth-ranked Trinity Valley to a 25-19 win Saturday over the seventh-ranked Navarro Bulldogs at Tiger Stadium. Banks’ touchdown and quarterback Jaylon Henderson’s two-point conversion run was the payoff for the Cardinals and defensive lineman O’Shea Jackson, who had stripped the football from Navarro running back Mori Evans on a first-down running play from the Bulldog 20-yard-line with 3:07 to go. Moments earlier, it appeared the Cardinals had been denied a last-chance rally when NC cornerback Benjie Franklin’s third interception of the season ended a nine-play, 33-yard drive of almost four minutes to the Bulldogs’ 33. Franklin’s interception in the Navarro end zone gave the Bulldogs possession at their 20-yard line. On the first play, however, Evans took a Harry Woodberry handoff up the middle, but Jackson wrestled the football away and rumbled to the Bulldog 14 with 3:02 left.  Rushing gains of 4 by Henderson and 3 by Banks left TVCC in a 3rd-and-3 situation.  Officials ruled NC’s defense offside on a third-down play, and the crucial penalty first-down call set up Banks’ TD run. TVCC seized a...

  • MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Seventh-ranked Navarro unleashed a stifling defense and smothered eighth-ranked Georgia Military, 23-7, Thursday in the NJCAA football season-opener for both clubs. Navarro’s impressive defensive unit shut down GMC on just eight first downs and limited the home team to 138 yards offense.  NC’s unit frustrated GMC’s offense by forcing eight three-and-out possessions during the contest, including five successive to start it.  Virtually incapacitated, GMC managed to run only 53 offensive plays — and only six snaps originated inside Navarro territory.  During the final two minutes GMC averted a shutout by driving 54 yards of their 138 total. NC’s defense, with an assist from special teams, further dictated field position. Sophomore team-leading interceptor last year, Benjie Franklin, picked off two Garrel Quainton passes and broke up several others. Freshman Trevor Denbow avoided dangerous return man Major Bellamy and placed five of seven punts inside the GMC 20-yard line, including two inside the 10.  And, Navarro capitalized on a pair of rare GMC special-teams miscues with partial blocks of Yaroslav Shirling’s mishandled punting attempts — one of which set up a first-half touchdown. Coach Cody Crill’s Bulldogs, winners of 12 of the last 13 meetings with GMC since 2004,...

  • By MIKE MONTFORT    —  LINDALE, Tx — Southwest Junior College Football Conference coaches and media members convened Friday for their annual Media Day luncheon at Garden Valley Golf Resort. Each of the eight head coaches sized up his team’s prospects, discussed strengths, fielded questions and also shared 2017 preseason guides and schedules during the 10 am meeting. Polls by the SWJCFC Coaches and also by the media were unveiled.  Both 2017 polls suggested the memory of an air-tight 2016 regular season conference schedule remained fresh on groups’ minds. Last year, there was a four-way tie for second place among teams that finished 4-3, and a two-way deadlock for sixth between squads that finished 3-4. Coaches and media members agree that TVCC is the 2017 league favorite.  Both poll groups, following the 2016 theme, created a jumble of teams possibly to land in the second- through sixth-place positions. Coach Cody Crill’s Navarro Bulldogs were picked third in the coaches poll, and fourth in the media ranking.  The Bulldogs return eight offensive and three defensive starters from a 6-3 non-playoff qualifying team that finished on a three-game winning streak and ranked No. 9 nationally. To view the 2017 SWJCFC Coaches and...

  • Members of the Navarro College football program are sending text messages as part of a fundraiser to sell Texasliving magazine, head coach Cody Crill said Sunday. The fundraiser began with a mass text on Wednesday, July 19. Navarro College football makes 52 percent ($15) from every $28.95 subscription sold to Texasliving magazine.  Available two-year magazine subscriptions at $55 result in a $29 profit for NC football and three-year subscriptions at $79 yield $43 profit for Bulldog football. Texasliving is monthly lifestyle publication by RGP Media Group of Bryan, Tx., showcasing Texas lifestyle, history, culture and style. Subscribers receive a confirmation e-mail of purchase after they pay through the secure, online web form.  Sponsors will receive spreadsheets of subscriptions sold by their organization. For more information: THE LINK:    http://www.txliving.com/fundraise

  • BRYAN – The Second Brazos Valley Bowl features No. 16 Navarro (8-3) and No. 14 Hinds CC, Ms. (7-2) at 11 am Saturday, December 7, at Merrill Green Stadium. The Brazos Valley Bowl, sanctioned in 2012, was created by The City of College Station, the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Blinn College. This year’s game has been moved to Bryan ISD’s Merrill Green Stadium since renovations already have started at the site of the first bowl game – Kyle Field on the Texas A&M University campus. Coach Brian Mayper’s Southwest Junior College Football Conference runners-up will be seeking their ninth win of the season and 70th over seven seasons when they challenge coach Gene Murphy’s Eagles.  Navarro will be attempting to secure its sixth consecutive bowl victory.  The Eagles, from Raymond, Ms., finished in a third-place tie in the South Division of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC), and failed to qualify for the playoffs despite finishing the season on a five-game winning streak.  Perhaps the season’s signature win was a 24-20 win over Jones County JC at Ellisville that occurred in the middle of the winning streak.  “This bowl invitation and the chance to...

  • The 2013 All-SWJCFC Team selected by coaches was released Monday.  Members of the 8-3 Navarro Bulldogs claimed three first-team, four second-team, and 12 honorable mention positions on the mythical squad. Sophomore, single-season record-setting running back Tim Wright was named the SWJCFC’s Offensive MVP and first-team selection for his 240-1566-22 season.  Joining him on the first unit is freshman big-play linebacker Kyron Minter and sophomore deep snapper Brent Nicholson. Four second-team picks included freshman wide receiver Devin Lauderdale and returns specialist Mikechell Potts, along with sophomore offensive lineman Carter Wall and cornerback Sherman Gilbert. The cast of 12 honorable mention selections include six offensive and six defensive players.  The six offensive players are sophomore running back Cameron Washington, quarterback Josh Greer, offensive linemen Patrick Dade and Maurice Porter, defensive back Aaron Shaw and freshman wide receiver Austin Collins.  

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun   ATHENS — Navarro has spent much of the 2013 season shrugging off an inordinate amount injuries by playing mistake-free football on offense and shutting down teams on defense. And then came the final three minutes of the SWJCFC championship, when a muffed punt and only the second interception in 264 pass attempts this season opened the door for Trinity Valley to break the Bulldogs’ stranglehold on the Southwest Junior College Football Conference crown. Trinity Valley rallied from a 17-point deficit in the final 24 minutes, capped by a pair of touchdowns in the final 2:27, for a 56-45 win over Navarro to win the SWJCFC title on Saturday at Bruce Field. Navarro (8-3) will receive a bowl bid on Tuesday, possibility from one of the two Texas bowls. Trinity Valley (9-2) won its eighth straight game and snapped Navarro’s three-year lock on the SWJCFC crown. Navarro looked to be in control after Tim Wright’s 4-yard scoring run that gave the Bulldogs a 45-42 lead at the 5:18 mark, and then forcing Trinity Valley to punt on the ensuing possession. With time dwindling under four minutes, usually reliable punt returner...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun Redemption No. 1 is complete. Now it’s on to Redemption No. 2. The Navarro Bulldogs spent the 2012 postseason wrecking teams that had defeated them during the regular season en route to the SWJCFC championship. Some Bulldogs at the time termed it revenge for those early season losses. A year later, the Bulldogs find themselves in an almost identical situation, but now it’s the Road of Redemption. No. 13-ranked Navarro (8-2) takes on No. 8 Trinity Valley (8-2) at Bruce Field at 3 p.m. in a rematch of the Cardinals’ 35-7 win over the Bulldogs at midseason in Corsicana. Both teams are assured of a postseason bowl invitation, though the winner earns a bid in the Heart of Texas Bowl in Copperas Cove, a site where Navarro has enjoyed success in recent years. The Trinity Valley victory earlier this season, played in a constant rain that didn’t slow the Cardinals’ potent passing game, knocked Navarro from the No. 1 spot in the NJCAA it had assumed just days before. That in itself is ample motivation for the Bulldogs. “(Navarro’s players) are hungry and they should play well. We expect them...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun TYLER —  Navarro stormed back into the Southwest Junior College Football Conference championship game for the 7th straight year by roaring to a 17-point second-half lead and then holding on for a 33-24 victory against No. 6-ranked Tyler on Saturday. The Bulldogs (8-2) will get a much-anticipated return engagement with Trinity Valley next Saturday in Athens in the title game. The Cardinals defeated Navarro 38-7 in a rain-soaked game in Corsicana earlier this season. No. 15 Navarro led by a field goal at halftime against Tyler, but went on lengthy scoring drives late the in third period to grab a 27-10 lead entering the final frame. The key to Navarro’s surge was its grinding rushing attack that accounted for 304 yards, including a career-high 187 yards on 29 carries from running back Tim Wright. The sophomore from La Marque had 117 yards in the second half, ripping off five double-digit runs that included a 10-yard scoring effort with 4:56 to go in the third period. With time dwindling under a minute in the stanza, Carson Earp dashed untouched through the middle of Tyler’s defense on a quarterback draw on third and...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun   TYLER — That chip firmly placed on the collective shoulders of Navarro College’s football team is back again this postseason and that might spell doom for the rest of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference playoff field. Navarro lost a pair of games during the regular season in 2012 only to roll both of those opponents en route to the SWJCFC Postseason Championship. The Bulldogs (7-2) are in a similar position this year after falling to Tyler and Trinity Valley, both teams seeded ahead of Navarro. First up is No. 7-ranked Tyler, which defeated No. 15 Navarro 17-7 earlier this season. But the Bulldogs aren’t talking revenge. “We’re in the same position we were in last year after losing two games we thought we should have won,” said Navarro Coach Brian Mayper. “There’s no revenge involved. It’s redemption instead. We had chances to win that first game with Tyler. We just need to redeem what we believe was ours.” Call it what you will, the Bulldogs have a tough road ahead to claim back-to-back titles under Mayper. Tyler presents an especially difficult opponent when the Bulldogs travel to Trinity...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun   Northeastern Oklahoma A&M players sprinkled a little dirt on the Tiger Stadium playing surface to make it feel like home on Saturday. Sixty minutes later, the Golden Norse were eager for a bit of the real thing. Navarro stormed into the Southwest Junior College Football Conference playoffs with a resounding 62-16 victory over NEO on Saturday after a 41-2 second-half blitzkrieg that featured a diverse offense and devastating defense. Navarro (7-2 overall, 4-2 in SWJCFC play) will be the third-seed and play at Tyler next Saturday afternoon at 3 pm at Trinity Mother Frances-Rose Stadium in the first round of the playoffs. Tyler defeated Kilgore 42-12 Saturday.  Saturday’s other 3 pm semifinal bracket will pair fourth-seed Blinn against top-seeded Trinity Valley at Bruce Field in Athens. The Bulldogs sprinted to a 14-0 lead but trudged through the second quarter, allowing a pair of NEO touchdowns for a 21-14 lead at the break. But it was all Navarro in the final two stanzas. Navarro picked up touchdown passes of 7 and 67 yards to James Jordan and Devin Lauderdale, respectively, and Tim Wright’s third rushing touchdown to stretch its lead in the third...

  • BY ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun   Tim Wright hears about the game all the time, almost nauseatingly so. It was Jonathan Gray vs. Tim Wright or Tim Wright vs. Jonathan Gray, depending on who you were talking to at the moment. But all Wright remembers is a game lost. Forget the historic numbers the two prolific running backs compiled or the dazzling first half that set Cowboys Stadium ablaze with excitement. Instead, it was a loss and Tim Wright absolutely abhors losing. “I was just talking about that game with somebody yesterday,’’ said the Navarro College running back, referring to the 2010 Class 4A title game that Wright’s La Marque team lost to Aledo, 69-34. “I don’t mind talking about it, but in the end, it was a loss and I just don’t like losing a game, whenever, it happens.” Many high school fans herald that title game as one of the most exciting in history, in part to Gray’s 323-yard, eight-touchdown performance. La Marque kept it close for a half thanks almost solely to Wright, who rushed for 202 yards and two scores and caught three passes for 54 yards and another TD. But...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun   After watching a 21-point lead vanish in the third quarter last week, Navarro Coach Brian Mayper is staying wary of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in the regular season finale. The Bulldogs eventually scored 14 answered points and leaned on a strong defensive effort in the fourth quarter to drop Blinn, 42-28, last week. NEO, which upset Navarro during the regular season last year, limps into its final game of the season with a 3-5 record and out of the SWJCFC playoff race with a 1-4 mark. That contrasts Navarro’s chance, albeit an outside one, of hosting a first-round playoff game next week. At 6-2 overall and 3-2 in league play, the Bulldogs may be destined for a return visit to Tyler, which defeated Navarro 17-7 earlier this year. If Navarro and Tyler win, Navarro will visit the Apaches in the first round. If Navarro and Kilgore (3-4, 3-2) defeats Tyler (7-1, 4-1), it will come down to a points system. If things break the Bulldogs’ way, they will host Kilgore in the first round and Tyler will play at Trinity Valley. If Navarro loses to NEO, it will be the...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun   BRENHAM —      Navarro got the victory it needed, though it wasn’t without a few tense moments in the second half. The Bulldogs raced to a 21-point first-half lead, Blinn rallied to tie the game in the third period and Navarro responded by grinding out a pair of fourth-quarter scores for a 42-28 win Saturday at Cub Stadium. The Bulldogs improved to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play. Navarro can clinch a playoff berth next Saturday when it hosts Northeastern Oklahoma at 1 p.m. Blinn is now 4-5 and 2-3 and effectively out of the playoff picture. Navarro jumped to a 21-0 lead with TD runs of 2 and 59 yards by Tim Wright and Aaron Shaw’s 15-yard return of a blocked punt. After Darrion Landry caught a 29-yard pass from quarterback Logan Vinklarek midway in the second quarter, Navarro’s Cameron Washington scored the first of his two touchdowns for a 28-7 Navarro lead at the break. Blinn then went on a scoring spree in the third quarter with touchdown runs by Kyle Fulks, Klartel Claridy and Garry Kimble. Now tied at 28, the Bulldogs responded with...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun Apparently, dancers are often plagued by sesamoiditis, a condition that affects the first metatarsal bone where it connects to the big toe, better known as the ball of your foot. Now, imagine a 6-foot-4, 320-pound offensive lineman with a sesamoid bone break. Carter Wall does not look like a dancer. A woodsman with a bushy beard maybe, but definitely not a dancer. For the last several weeks, the Navarro College offensive lineman has had to deal with a broken sesamoid bone in his right foot. It caused him to miss two games and now he’s going to move from the right to left side of the offensive line so his plant foot for pass blocking is unimpaired. But don’t feel sorry for the former TCU signee. In his two-year tenure at Navarro, he’s played virtually every position along the offensive front, including a stint as an emergency center replacement. “I can’t put any weight on that (right) side and I’ve got to be able to push off on that foot when I’m pass blocking,” said the Fort Bend Travis graduate. “But I’m good to go. I can and will play.”...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun   BRENHAM — It’s not the rivalry that drew all the attention a few years ago, but when the Navarro Bulldogs travel to Brenham on Saturday to face Blinn, there will be plenty on the line, just like the old days. Back when Navarro handed eventual Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton his only collegiate loss, the Bulldog-Buccaneer rivalry was among the best in junior college football. The games were hard-hitting shootouts with ample drama and several future NFL players donning blue and red during the late aughts. The old coaches have moved on with national championships under their belts and the current coaches are attempting to secure a playoff berth with two games remaining in the conference season. Navarro had risen to No. 1 in the NJCAA but has since fallen to No. 14 after back-to-back losses to SWJCFC frontrunners Tyler and Trinity Valley. The 5-2 Bulldogs will face off with a Blinn team that is 3-4 overall and finds itself even with Navarro in the standings at 2-2. The winner has a good opportunity to forge a playoff berth. The loser might be looking at a quick end to...

  • Dogs maul Spartans, reset single-game scoring mark   By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun When a Southwest Junior College Football Conference team is ailing, it can always take solace that Southeast Prep will eventually pop up on the schedule. Navarro has needed some positives after the last three weeks and just in time Southeast Prep made its way into Tiger Stadium for the Bulldogs’ final non-conference game. Navarro roared to almost 600 yards of offense and allowed less than 80 in an 80-0 victory on Saturday. Navarro set the school record for points in game, breaking the 76 points it totaled in the season opener against Arkansas Baptist. This was a game of all positives at a time when the Bulldogs needed one the most. After losing starting quarterback Josh Greer to a broken collarbone in Week 4, followed by back-to-back SWJCFC losses, Navarro was in dire need of a blowout. That’s exactly what the Bulldogs and their fans got, even though the game was bumped back more than an hour because of a fierce thunderstorm rolling through Navarro County. Navarro’s running attack was downright vicious in its dismantling of Southeast Prep (0-7), a team that...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun When Pittsburgh was in the middle of its dominant run of Super Bowl wins, Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw was sidelined with an injury and the Steelers had to lean on little-used backups Terry Gilliam and Terry Hanratty. But it was the defense that featured the Steel Curtain line, linebackers Jack Ham and Jack Lambert and cornerback Mel Blount that shut down opponents en route to the 1974 Super Bowl title. Navarro College knows what the Steelers were feeling 40 years ago. When Josh Greer went down with a broken collarbone at the end of a win over Kilgore, it had to go with untested backup Alex Allen and then stalwart-but-newbie Carson Earp in the next two weeks. The Bulldog defense has taken up the slack in Greer’s absence and even before the sophomore signal-caller was injured. The second half shutdown has become the Bulldogs’ specialty. In Week 2, the defense shut out Hutchinson as the Bulldogs rolled to a 41-14 victory. The defense held Kilgore scoreless in the final 30 minutes of a win against an offensive juggernaut as Navarro moved to 4-0. Not much went right for...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun   There is no panic coming from the Navarro College football offices this week. After losing their second game in a row, the Bulldogs have slid from the top spot in the NJCAA to No. 14, but no one is chucking in the season. There were ample positives and plenty of quick fixes available to Navarro as it aims to run the table much as it did a year ago en route to a Heart of Texas Bowl victory over Georgia Military. “I think we still have a shot at winning the conference championship,” Navarro coach Brian Mayper said. “It seems to be one of those years that anybody can beat anybody in this conference. “We were one block and one catch away from beating the No. 4 team in the nation last week. We’re going to be OK. We’re going the fix some things and continue to get better.” The opportunities were there last week. Navarro just could not convert. As a result, the Bulldogs are 4-2 overall and 2-2 in conference play heading into Saturday’s non-league game against Southeast Prep at Tiger Stadium. Navarro started its third quarterback...

  •     BY MIKE PHILLIPS / Corsicana Daily Sun Tyler —  Markel Steward-Gillespie couldn’t move. He stayed there on the ground, alone. Finally Austin Collins came over and picked up the Navarro receiver who had just come up short, slipping out of bounds at the 8-yard line on a catch that might have saved his team. No words were needed. Just that freeze-frame image of Steward-Gillespie laying there was more than enough. Bitter, frustrated, drained … Fill in the one word that hurts the most. That’s how Steward-Gillespie and Navarro felt after falling to No. 6 Tyler, 17-10, on a night when the Bulldogs came back and back and back and then came up empty. It wasn’t just that final pass of the night from Carson Earp, who was making his first start for Navarro. It was one frustrating moment after another. Just look at the pass that Collins dropped in the end zone just before halftime — a perfect strike for a would-be touchdown. Then there was that TD pass that Devin Lauderdale caught in the right corner of the end zone at the end of the third. He was wide open and hauled in the reception. But no, Lauderdale was ruled...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun While the Navarro football program is off to a 4-1 start and a No. 9 ranking in the NJCAA, many of its former players are excelling at the next level. Headlining the list of ex-Bulldogs is University of Central Oklahoma receiver Marquez Clark. The NJCAA-record holder for catches and receiving yards as a sophomore for Navarro, Clark redshirted in former Navarro coach Nick Bobeck’s program at University of Central Oklahoma. Now Clark is the star attraction alongside running back Josh Birmingham in UCO’s offense. Clark is second in Division II football with 32 catches for 597 yards and four touchdowns this season. Clark is also a terror in the return game, averaging 24.6 yards on 11 kickoff returns and also averaging 14.5 yards in the punt return game. Much of Clark’s success while at Navarro and now at UCO comes from the connection he has with quarterback Adrian Nelson. Nelson has completed 83 of 145 passes for 1,192 yards this season, averaging 298 yards per game through the air for a Bronchos offense that averages 486.8 yards and 29.8 points per game. Still looking for its first win of the...

  • BY ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun It is not easy to understand just what the Navarro Bulldogs are thinking these days. Not even their coach knows what’s on the minds of his team after losing 35-7 last week to Trinity Valley, snapping a home-game conference winning streak that dated back to 2006. The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 4-1 and from No. 1 to No. 8 in the NJCAA rankings. The enthusiasm and focus in practices and preparation for Saturday’s game against No. 6 Tyler at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium has been the same as it was prior to facing off against a talented Trinity Valley ballclub, according to Navarro coach Brian Mayper. “It’s a hard crew to get a read on,” he said. “I’ve never been around a team like this. “We practiced fine last week and then we came out and did nothing in the game. It’s been the same this week in practice.” Mayper hopes the weekend result will be different. But it won’t be easy. Tyler is even more explosive than Trinity Valley offensively and has proved to be opportunistic on defense en route to a 5-0 record and moving into the...

  • COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Three of the NJCAA’s top four teams, including No. 1 Navarro, lost during a wild sixth weekend of football.  As the Bulldogs became the second top-ranked team to go down in as many weeks, the NJCAA’s first computer rankings became a new factor in the poll released Tuesday. Georgia Military College (6-0), which has beaten two No. 2 teams (Snow and Iowa Western) plus a No. 10 team (ASA), zoomed from fifth to first in the new rankings. Coach Bert Williams’ Bulldogs only had two votes from regional voters, but totaled 200.5 points to edge East Mississippi. Coach Buddy Stephens’ Lions (5-0) had to be peeved.  On the heels of Saturday’s NJCAA record-tying 90-7 Homecoming victory over Coahoma, the EMCC Lions continue to lead the NJCAA in both scoring offense and scoring defense.  Having outscored their 2013 opposition by a composite point total of 337-13 on the year, the Lions are scoring an average of 67.4 points and allowing just 2.6 points per outing through the first five games of the season.  EMCC’s quick-strike offense has bettered its game scoring totals each week (49-59-69-70-90), while the Lions’ stifling defense has recorded 18-of-20 shutout quarters on the...

  • Cardinals knock sluggish Navarro from top ranking, 35-7   By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun   As defenses of No. 1 rankings go, the result was about as bad as anyone could have imagined. Too many penalties. Too many turnovers. Two too many touchdowns called back because of penalties. Too little offensive production. In essence, Navarro’s 35-7 loss to Trinity Valley at Tiger Stadium was about as sloppy and soaked as the devoted fans in the stands Saturday night. Navarro entered the game brandishing the No. 1 ranking after rolling through its first four opponents. It left concerned about a suddenly sluggish offense and scrambling to ready itself for a surging 5-0 Tyler club next week on the road. The loss also snapped a 29-game regular season home winning streak that started in 2006. It also stopped a skein of 23 straight home conference game victories. Perhaps it was the rainy night that pushed back the start of the game by 30 minutes. Or maybe it was missing starting quarterback Josh Greer, who injured his collarbone last week at the end of a win over Kilgore and who’ll miss an undetermined amount of time. Regardless the...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun   John Williams and Kerri Holliday watched it week to week, in practice and then in games. And they vowed that when they became the sophomore leaders, there would be no more clowning around. Four games deep into the 2013 season, it’s obvious they are following through on their freshman promise. Williams and Holliday have had some radical changes in the last year. In addition to taking over leadership roles, Holliday and Williams were part of a vast change in the Navarro’s defense under the leadership of new defensive coordinator Scott Joseph. Williams (6-4, 255) played outside linebacker in high school and then switched to defensive end last season. Now he finds himself at tackle in the Bulldogs’ new 3-4 defense. Holliday is an undersized (6-3, 260), but very effective nose tackle. “It’s a whole new position for me and there’s been a lot to learn, but I think I’m getting it down,” Holliday said. “As a whole, I think we’re more disciplined this year and it shows with what we’re doing in the new defense.” Williams and Holliday have provided the sophomore leadership up front for the Bulldogs. Williams...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun Take a poll of the NJCAA football coaches and you’d likely get a resounding 100 percent yes if asked if they’d like their team ranked No. 1 in the country. And then ask them when they’d like that ranking. Again, it’s unanimous they all want to be No. 1 the second week of December. It took all of four weeks for coach Brian Mayper’s Navarro Bulldogs to ascend to the top spot in the NJCAA rankings and now defense of that No. 1 position begins in earnest against one of the most talented teams in the country. Navarro hosts a 2-2 Trinity Valley team on Saturday at 7 p.m. that has played No. 2 Iowa Western within seven points, blasted Jayhawk Conference power Coffeyville 70-7 and last week dominated Cisco, 49-21. “It’s a nice honor to be No. 1,” Mayper said earlier this week after his team defeated fellow SWJCFC preseason favorite Kilgore. “But now we’ve got to win. We’ve got to beat Trinity Valley this weekend and then keep winning each week until we achieve our ultimate goal, which is to be No. 1 in December.” Navarro (4-0 overall,...

  • By MIKE PHILLIPS / Corsicana Daily Sun You could see it coming. Navarro coach Brian Mayper even told his team that. Being No. 1 in the nation might not have been expected, but it was there for the taking, and the Bulldogs took charge Saturday night in an impressive 35-21 win over Kilgore and landed in the No. 1 spot in the NJCAA poll on Tuesday. “It was obvious,’’ Mayper said. “We were No. 2 and when the No. 1 team, Mississippi Gulf Coast, lost on Thursday I told the players if we won on Saturday that we would be No. 1. It’s obvious. When No. 1 loses and No. 2 wins, we should jump up to No. 1. I told them if we won we would be No. 1, but you can’t be satisfied.’’ Mayper is happy with the ranking, just cautious and honest about what it means. “It’s good,’’ he said. “It’s good for the school. It’s good for the recognition. But it doesn’t mean anything until the end. The kids are pretty excited about it. It’s my job to keep them focused. Nobody remembers who was ranked No. 1 a year later. We have to keep focused...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun When Navarro needed a big second half from its defense in Week 2 against No. 6-ranked Hutchinson, it responded by shutting down the Blue Dragons en route to a 25-point victory. The Bulldogs needed another huge effort on that side of ball again on Saturday and the defense once again stepped to the fore, allowing zero points, 43 yards and registering four sacks as Navarro defeated Kilgore, 35-21, at Tiger Stadium. Navarro’s victory, coupled with top-ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast’s loss on Thursday, should allow the Bulldogs to ascend to the NJCAA No. 1 ranking this week. The excitement about the big win over co-SWJCFC favorite Kilgore and the almost assured new No. 1 ranking will be tempered by the probable loss of starting quarterback Josh Greer. The sophomore injured his throwing shoulder on Navarro’s next-to-last series. He went to Navarro Regional Hospital for x-rays after the game. Fellow sophomore Alex Allen will be primed to take over the reigns of the Navarro offense and the Bulldogs will have to burn the redshirt of freshman Carson Earp, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound Waco Robinson grad who the coaching staff has praised throughout fall...

  • By ROB LUDWIG / Special To The Corsicana Daily Sun Saturday’s showdown of preseason SWJCFC favorites Navarro and Kilgore is eerily similar to last year’s matchup, a game Bulldog coach Brian Mayper would in most cases like to forget. Instead, the second-year coach used the Bulldogs’ 45-35 loss as a teaching moment for his team that later resulted in a rout of Kilgore in the SWJCFC semifinals. Mayper hopes to avoid the anguish in 2013 as he urges freshmen to stay focused and the sophomores to take a hard look at how the Bulldogs competed a year ago on the road. Fortunately, the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs will face Kilgore at Tiger Stadium this year, a place where they throttled Arkansas Baptist 76-26 to open the season. “We just made too many mistakes in every phase of the game last year,” Mayper said. “We had a chance to win when he blocked a field goal and (Kilgore’s Joe Herrick) runs it in for a touchdown. Then we had a chance to win it again and we committed a turnover. “The sophomores have to talk to our freshmen and let them know what it takes when you play a team like Kilgore.”...