MIAMI — Taking a break from competition in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen play the final three games of the season on the road.
First up for the Golden Norse will be a 60-mile trek north of the border at 6 p.m., Oct. 14, to face longtime rival Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Since the inception of this storied rivalry in 1925, the Golden Norsemen hold a 25-14-2 advantage in the on-again, off-again series.
The Red Ravens have won the previous three meetings in 2004, 2013 and last year.
Outscored 14-3 in the fourth quarter, the Golden Norsemen dropped a 42-31 decision to the Red Ravens last season during the Hall of Fame game at Red Robertson Field.
A 25-point second quarter boosted Coffeyville to a 25-21 lead at halftime. NEO forged a 28-28 tie through three quarters after Darwin Thompson scored on a 7-yard TD run.
Even though the Norsemen defense held the Ravens to 87 yards on 33 rushes, Coffeyville’s passing game connected on 34 of 49 passes for 453 total yards.
NEO’s last victory over the Red Ravens was a 30-27 win in the 2003 Dalton Defenders Bowl at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Entering his fifth season as head coach, Aaron Flores and his staff returned 30 veterans last spring from a team that finished 6-5 on the season. The Red Ravens posted a 2-5 mark in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.
Coffeyville had 19 sophomores sign letters of intent at the four-year level; that included five starting offensive linemen, five starting wide receivers, two linebackers and five defensive backs.
Featuring an offense that averaged 353.5 yards per game and 31.7 points, the Red Ravens spent both the spring and the summer July session trying to develop a starting quarterback. All three players from last year moved on by the end of the spring semester.
Returning to anchor the Red Raven running game is Antwan Barksdale (5-9, 185 from Topeka, Kansas). As a freshman, Barksdale had 100 carries for 450 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 17 yards.
Fullback Leonard Green III (5-9, 240 from Kansas City, Kansas) returns to Coffeyville’s backfield. Last season Green rushed for 106 yards on 20 carries in nine games. He also caught six passes for 122 yards and two TDs.
Another returning veteran at running back is Jose McDonald (5-9, 210 from Wichita, Kansas). McDonald gained 115 yards on 35 carries in eight games as a freshman. He carried the ball one time for 34 yards.
Although sophomore Isaiah McIntyre (6-1, 195 from Tampa, Florida) played quarterback all through high school at Bloomingdale, he made the transition to wide out as a freshman at Coffeyville.
He finished with 28 receptions for 248 yards and three touchdowns and is the lone returning wide out.
Two all-KJCCC selections return to the Red Ravens defensive unit that surrendered an average of 408.9 yards per game and 30 points each contest.
Outside linebacker Jacob Rodman (6-1, 215 from Wichita, Kansas) earned first team all-conference honors as a freshman. Rodman ranked second on the team with 17 unassisted tackles and 78 assists.
He recorded 1.5 quarterback sacks for minus-5 yards and 6.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for minus-14 yards. Rodman also returned two interceptions for 44 yards.
Veteran safety Darreon Jackson (6-0, 200 from Derby, Kansas) returns to the back end of the Coffeyville defense.
He ranked third on the team with 37 solo tackles and 57 assists. Jackson made six deflected passes while returning five interceptions for 200 total yards.
Returning along the interior Red Raven defensive line at tackle is Zach Burks (6-3, 270 from Olathe, Kansas). He made 13 unassisted tackles and 34 assists.
Burks also recorded eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage for minus-18 yards along with recovering one forced fumble.