Clash of perennial powers kicks off the 2014 NJCAA Football seasonAugust 21, 2014
2014 NJCAA Football – Week 1 Preview
The long wait is over as the 2014 NJCAA Football season kicks off Friday night. Fans won’t have to wait long to see an intriguing matchup as two of the nation’s top teams square-off in Week 1.
NJCAA Game of the Week
#5 Georgia Military (0-0) at #8 Navarro (0-0) – Saturday, 1:00 p.m. (CT)
Two top 10 teams that are among the NJCAA’s elite programs historically will clash Saturday as No. 5 Georgia Military heads to the Lone Star State to take on No. 8 Navarro. The Bulldogs from Georgia and Texas are meeting for the first since Navarro’s 30-23 victory in the 2012 Heart of Texas Bowl.
Falling just one win short of the NJCAA national championship last season, Georgia Military is primed to make another run to the title game in 2014. Sophomore running back Jovon Robinson (right) is back for the Bulldogs after setting the NJCAA single-season rushing record with 2,387 yards on the ground as a freshman. The Bulldogs lost eight starters from last year’s offense but are looking for Robinson and sophomore wide receiver Zireycus Letman to offset those departures. The defense will also have just three returning starters but should be formidable with the sophomore duo of Blake Robbins and Devante Covington applying pressure on the ends.
Navarro is seeking redemption this year after disappointedly ending 2013 without an SWJCFC title. For the first time since 2006, the Bulldogs failed to win their conference’s regular season or playoff championship. Returning under center for Navarro is sophomore quarterback Carson Earp. Getting his opportunity halfway through the season, Earp threw for 814 yards and seven touchdowns in six games as a freshman. With a lack of experience at running back, sophomore wide receiver Austin Collins should play a major role this year after totaling 42 receptions for 559 yards and five touchdowns in 2013. On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore middle linebacker Chrishard Buhl anchors a unit that returns eight starters.
Other Key Games in Week 1
New Mexico Military (0-0) at #12 Arizona Western (0-0) – Saturday, 7:00 p.m. (PT)
Two squads expected to compete for the WSFL title won’t have to wait long to see each other as No. 12 Arizona Western hosts New Mexico Military. Starting the season with a brutal three-game stretch, the Matadors of Arizona Western need a victory against the Broncos to get out on the right foot. Despite New Mexico Military’s drastic improvement in 2013 – going 8-4 and 5-3 in conference play – a new cast of Broncos must pick up the torch as only three starters from last season return.
#15 Snow (0-0) at Mesa (0-0) – Saturday, 7:00 p.m. (PT)
One of the WSFL’s perennial powers will face an up-and-coming program in Week 1 as No. 15 Snow travels to Mesa. After going 5-6 and finishing in the bottom half of the conference standings, the Snow Badgers are ready to put last season behind them with 10 returning starters. Falling just one game short of the conference title, Mesa will look to take the next step in 2014. The Thunderbirds return of three starters on the offensive line and sophomore Aulelio Olomua on the defensive front.
Minnesota West (0-0) at Dakota-Bottineau (0-0) – Saturday, 12:00 p.m. (CT)
Playing their first conference game as a member of the MCAC, Dakota-Bottineau will face stiff competition in Minnesota West. Dakota-Bottineau went 8-3 last season, but the Lumberjacks could face some challenges with only returning starter on offense. Coming off a 6-3 season, Minnesota West isn’t expected to roll out the red carpet for the Lumberjacks. The Bluejays return just seven starters from last year’s squad and will need some production from new faces to make a run in 2014.
This Week in the Top 20
All Times Local - *Non-NJCAA Member
#5 Georgia Military (0-0) at #8 Navarro (0-0)
Saturday, 1:00 p.m. (CT)
#12 Arizona Western (0-0) vs. New Mexico Military (0-0)
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. (PT)
#15 Snow (0-0) at Mesa (0-0)
Saturday, 8:00 p.m. (MT)
#18 Rochester (0-0) at Vermilion (0-0)
Saturday, 1:30 p.m. (CT)
Check out this week’s full Top 20 rankings
Complete NJCAA Football Week 1 Schedule (August 22-23)
It is the responsibility of each team to post their own scores to the NJCAA Stat System.
Click Here for the NJCAA Scoreboard.
Friday, August 22nd
MCAC (All Times Central)
Minnesota State (0-0) at Fond du Lac (0-0) – 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 23rd
NON-CONFERENCE (All Times Eastern - *Non-Member Team)
Hardin-Simmons JV* at Cisco – 11:00 a.m.
Fort Scott (0-0) at Benedictine* – 11:30 a.m.
Louisburg (0-0) at NC Wesleyan* – 1:00 p.m.
Lackawanna (0-0) at Montclair State* – 1:00 p.m.
Milford* at Hudson Valley (0-0) – 1:00 p.m.
#5 Georgia Military (0-0) at #8 Navarro (0-0) – 2:00 p.m.
Georgia Prep* at Arkansas Baptist (0-0) – 7:00 p.m.
MCAC (All Times Central)
Minnesota West (0-0) at Dakota-Bottineau (0-0) – 12:00 p.m.
#18 Rochester (0-0) at Vermilion (0-0) – 1:30 p.m.
North Dakota SCS (0-0) at Itasca (0-0) – 4:00 p.m.
WSFL (All Times Pacific)
New Mexico Military (0-0) at #12 Arizona Western (0-0) – 7:00 p.m.
#15 Snow (0-0) at Mesa (0-0) – 7:00 p.m.
Glendale (0-0) at Eastern Arizona (0-0) – 7:00 p.m.
Pima (0-0) at Phoenix (0-0) – 7:00 p.m.
For more information, check out the 2014 NJCAA Football Season Preview Series.
Photos courtesy of Bill Akin/SkyHawk Sports Photography, Bryan-College Station CVB, Arizona Western Athletics, Mesa Athletics, Rochester Athletics and Lackawanna Athletics.