MIAMI — The Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen have earned national recognition for the second consecutive year in the National Junior College Athletic Association preseason football poll.
The Norse were 14th in the poll, which was released Monday, Aug. 14.
"We are thrilled that the NJCAA felt us worthy of a No. 14 ranking,” NEO head coach Clay Patterson said. “But, we have a long way to go as a program to finish the season were we want.
“We will continue to Stay Golden each day,” Patterson said. “Effort, attitude and tempo drive us every day and we know we have the ability to go All the Way Up.”
The Norse program uses Twitter hashtags #StayGolden and #AllTheWayUp! this season.
After finishing fourth last season in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference with a 3-3 record, the Norsemen posted a 5-5 overall mark in Patterson’s initial stint as head coach.
NEO finished the 2016 campaign ranked 24th in the final NJCAA national poll. That marked the first time since 2012 that the Golden Norsemen appeared in the national spotlight.
Current NEO athletic director Dale Patterson guided the 2012 Golden Norse to a 9-3 season record and a No. 13 finish in the poll.
Five teams from both the SWJCFC and the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference received preseason recognition in the preseason rankings.
Representing the SWJCFC in the preseason poll are Trinity Valley, ranked fourth; Navarro College, seventh; NEO, and Tyler Junior College, 16th. Kilgore College received votes.
Teams from the KJCCC are Garden City, Kansas, third; Dodge City, 15th; Independence, 17th, and both Butler and Highland each received votes.
Arizona Western earned the top spot in the preseason poll after finishing 11-1 last season. Arizona Western dropped a 25-22 decision to Garden City in the El Toro Bowl in Yuma, Arizona.
East Mississippi Community College of Scooba, Mississippi, sits in the No. 2 position. The Lions, who finished with an 11-1 record, defeated Kilgore 27-17 in the Mississippi Bowl at Perkinston.
Garden City captured its first NJCAA championship last season with a perfect 11-0 season. The Broncbusters open this year ranked No. 3 in preseason.
After winning nine straight games to end last season, the Trinity Valley Cardinals are rated fourth in the preseason.
The Cards defeated Northwest Mississippi 34-24 in the Heart of Texas Bowl at Copperas Cove, Texas, to post an 11-1 record.
Lackawanna College of Scranton, Pennsylvania, is ranked No. 5 in preseason after posting a 10-1 record in 2016.
The Falcons dropped a 48-42 decision to Mesa (Arizona) Community College in the Valley of the Sun Bowl at Mesa.