Butler, Hutch both tabbed for NJCAA Bowl game

Mar, 25, 2017; Hutchinson, Kansas, USA; Hutchinson cheerleaders celebrate during the NJCAA Division 1 National Championship game between Hutchinson and Eastern Florida State. Hutch defeated Eastern Florida State 84-58 to win the National Title ©Kelly Ross

Charlotte, NC (NJCAA release) The NJCAA has officially announced its nine bowl game matchups. This year's slate will feature 18 programs between Dec. 1-2.
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C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl – Waco ISD Stadium | Waco, TX | December 1 | 12:00 PM EST

#20 Pima (6-3) vs. #4 Kilgore (9-2)

Kilgore (TX), winners of the Southwestern Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) championship, will meet Pima (AZ) in a bowl game for the second time. The Aztecs narrowly defeated Kilgore 10-7 in 2004 in the Pilgrim's Pride Bowl in Mount Pleasant, TX.

Winners of seven straight games to close out the season, Kilgore topped then-No. 7 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M 62-19 to claim the conference crown. Pima climbed as high as No. 11 in the nation this year after knocking off a pair of ranked opponents.

Pima will be making just their second bowl game appearance in program history while Kilgore will be making its 22nd overall appearance with a current bowl record of 11-10.

Red Grange Bowl – MacDougall Field | Glen Ellyn, IL | December 1 | 2:00 PM EST

Northland (8-2) vs. Nassau (7-3)

Northland (MN) clinched the Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) championship with a convincing 34-10 win over North Dakota SCS. Independent Nassau (NY) rattled off five wins over its final six contests to become bowl eligible and earn the Red Grange invite.

Both teams appeared in four separate regular season national polls in 2018 with neither climbing out of the Receiving Votes category.

Northland is making its second consecutive bowl appearance after the Pioneers earned an invite to the 2017 The Graphic Edge Bowl against Ellsworth. Nassau will be making its first bowl appearance since winning the 2014 Valley of the Sun Bowl in Scottsdale, AZ against Scottsdale (AZ).

Northland Quarterback Craig Wells currently leads the NJCAA with 3,004 passing yards and 34 touchdowns while Tristin Murrin's 130 tackles lead the nation for the Pioneers.

Bowl Game Website

Salt City Bowl – Gowans Stadium | Hutchinson, KS | December 1 | 2:00 PM EST

#13 Hutchinson (8-3) vs. Navarro (6-4)

Hutchinson (KS) will play on its home field as hosts of the Salt City Bowl for the third time since 2012 as the Blue Dragons welcome Navarro (TX) to Gowans Stadium.

The 2018 bowl will be the 21st bowl appearance for Hutchinson with its previous eight postseason games coming at the Salt City Bowl. The Blue Dragons, who climbed as high as No. 4 in the NJCAA rankings in 2018, are 11-7-2 all-time in bowl games and 6-1 in the Salt City Bowl.

Navarro, ranked as high as No. 10 in the NJCAA rankings this year, will be making their 20th bowl appearance and first at the Salt City Bowl. The Bulldogs have won their last six bowl games with their last appearance coming at the Brazos Valley Bowl in 2013.

The two teams have only met twice before where Navarro won each contest- 54-34 in 2012 and 41-16 in 2013.

Bowl Game Website

Valley of the Sun Bowl – Scottsdale Stadium | Scottsdale, AZ | December 1 | 2:00 PM EST

#14 Scottsdale (7-3) vs. Blinn (6-4)

After three consecutive wins to finish off the 2018 season, Scottsdale (AZ) will serve as hosts of the Valley of the Sun Bowl against the Blinn Buccaneers (TX).

Scottsdale will be making its fourth appearance at the Valley of the Sun Bowl since 2013 where the Fighting Artichokes are 2-1 in those games. Scottsdale climbed as high as No. 4 in the national rankings in 2018 behind an offense that averaged 37.8 points per game, seventh-best in the NJCAA.

Blinn will be making consecutive bowl appearances for the first time since 2011 after the Buccaneers were edged by Snow (UT) at the El Toro Bowl last season. Making its 14thoverall bowl appearance that included the 2009 national championship, Blinn received votes in every national poll this year and were ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation.

El Toro Bowl – Veterans Memorial Stadium | Yuma, AZ | December 1 | 3:00 PM EST

#19 Arizona Western (6-4) vs. #6 Lackawanna (10-0)

One of three unbeaten teams in the regular season, No. 6 Lackawanna (PA) will make the trek to take on No. 19 Arizona Western in the El Toro Bowl at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Lackawanna will be making its third Arizona bowl game appearance, but first at the El Toro Bowl. Led by the winningest active coach in the NJCAA, Mark Duda (159-74) and the Falcons completed the program's fourth undefeated season and are looking for its first-ever 11-0 finish. Lackawanna last played in a bowl game in 2016 where Mesa outlasted the Falcons 47-45 in double overtime in the Valley of the Sun Bowl.

Arizona Western will be making its 18th overall bowl appearance and ninth consecutive postseason trip. The Matadors, who have played in the last two NJCAA national championship contests are 7-10 overall in bowl games, but 7-4 at the El Toro Bowl.

Bowl Game Website

The Graphic Edge Bowl (Opening Game) – UNI Dome | Cedar Falls, IA | December 2 | 12:00 PM EST

#16 Iowa Central (7-4) vs. #12 Monroe (7-1)

Iowa Central's turnaround season has resulted in a bowl game appearance against No. 12 Monroe (NY) where the two teams will square off at the UNI Dome on December 2.

One year removed from a one-win season, first-year head coach Jesse Montalto has the Tritons back in a bowl game for the first time since 2014. Iowa Central will be making its 25th overall bowl appearance where they boast a 13-9 record at The Graphic Edge Bowl.

After dropping just one game in 2018, Monroe received its first-ever bowl game invitation as the Mustangs will make the trip to Iowa. Monroe's current ranking of No. 12 is the highest in the program's seven-year history.

In place since 1978, The Graphic Edge Bowl will feature its sixth New York team to play in one of the two games on December 2.

Bowl Game Website

Mississippi Bowl – A.L. May Memorial Stadium | Perkinston, MS | December 2 | 3:00 PM EST

#5 Jones (9-2) vs. #7 Eastern Arizona (9-2)

After finishing as runners-up in the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges (MACJC), Jones (MS) will play as hosts of the Mississippi Bowl against Eastern Arizona.

Jones will be making its first bowl appearance since 2004 after falling to MACJC champion East Mississippi 19-14 in the state title game. The bowl appearance is the 11th overall for the Bobcats. Jones won eight consecutive contests before the championship game as the Bobcats were ranked as high as No. 4 in the NJCAA rankings in 2018.

After consecutive trips to the Salt City Bowl in 2016 and 2017, Eastern Arizona will travel an extra 888 miles from Hutchinson to Perkinston for its third-straight bowl game and fifth overall. Ranked in every poll this season, the Gila Monsters won seven of its final eight contests, including back-to-back victories over ranked opponents, to earn its highest ranking of the season in the final regular season poll. Eastern Arizona will head to the Mississippi Bowl under John O'Mera, the third active winningest coach in the NJCAA with 143 wins.

Midwest Classic Bowl – Red Robertson Field | Miami, OK | December 2 | 3:00 PM EST

#10 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (8-3) vs. #15 Butler (7-4)

Just the second-ever Midwest Classic Bowl in NJCAA history, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M will appear in the game for the second time as the Norsemen will square off against the Butler Grizzlies (KS) in a matchup that boasts a combined 12 NJCAA football national championships.

2017 saw Independence (KS) top Northeastern Oklahoma A&M 30-20 in the first Midwest Classic Bowl at Red Robertson Field. Six-time NJCAA champions, the Norsemen will be making their 32nd bowl game appearance where they boast a 16-15-1 record throughout its 97-year history. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M has been ranked in each national poll in 2018 and were rated as high as No. 4 in the nation.

Butler, also recipients of six NJCAA national titles, will be making its 28th bowl game appearance with an overall record of 14-13. Butler's last bowl appearance came in 2016 where the Grizzlies fell to Eastern Arizona 39-38 at the Salt City Bowl. This will be Butler's first-ever bowl game in the state of Oklahoma.

Bowl Game Website

The Graphic Edge Bowl (Feature Game) – UNI DOME | Cedar Falls, IA | December 2 | 4:00 PM EST

#3 Iowa Western (9-1) vs. #9 Snow (8-2)

Two of the most successful NJCAA football programs in recent years, the Reivers of Iowa Western will entertain the Snow Badgers (UT) at the UNI Dome in The Graphic Edge Bowl Feature Game.

The matchup will be the second postseason matchup between the teams. Snow topped Iowa Western 48-36 at the 2010 Zions Bank Top of the Mountains Bowl.

In just its 10th year of NJCAA competition, the Reivers will be making its ninth consecutive bowl game appearance and sixth at The Graphic Edge Bowl. Iowa Western currently sports a 5-3 bowl record but are 5-1 at The Graphic Edge Bowl. The Reivers have appeared in 25 consecutive NJCAA rankings.

No. 9 Snow will be making its 23rd overall bowl appearance with an impressive 17-5 record in postseason play. The Badgers defeated Blinn 43-41 at the 2017 El Toro Bowl. Snow's Jaylen Warren enters the matchup as the nation's leading rusher at 161.8 yards per game.

Bowl Game Website

Along with the nine bowl games, the 2018 NJCAA eTeamSponsor Football National Championship game, which will be televised on CBS Sports Network, will be held on Thursday, Nov. 29 in Pittsburg, KS. For more information:

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