MIAMI — The Miami Multi-Purpose Sports Complex at Red Robertson Field has hosted youth, junior high, high school and community college football over the years.
Now it will host an NCAA Division II game, pitting Quincy (Illinois) University and the University of Texas of the Permian Basin on Saturday, Oct. 21.
Kickoff will be at 1 p.m.
The two schools are almost 15 hours — 980 miles — apart.
However, Miami is 355 miles from Quincy and 627 from Odessa, Texas, home of UTPB.
A longtime friendship with Golden Norse head coach Clay Patterson is one thing that helped Miami land the game.
“We both had an open week in October and neither one of us wanted to commit to the full travel,” UTPB head coach Justin Carrigan said. “I know Clay Patterson really well, so I called him and asked if the field was available and if it was, could we utilize it.”
Carrigan said Patterson and his uncle, Northeastern A&M athletic director Dale Patterson, helped pull things together.
“It’s a nice facility, for sure,” said Carrigan, who has been to Miami in the past on recruiting trips.
Another factor that helped in the decision-making process was Quincy interim head coach Gary Bass spent three seasons at Missouri Southern State University as an assistant to former head coach Bart Tatum.
Former QU head coach Tom Pajic had scheduled the game before taking a job as director of player personnel at Temple.
“We needed a DII game and it was easier for us to meet halfway. I had told him, ‘hey, this is a neutral site, they have a nice facility and I know the area really well.’ It worked out,” Bass said.
Both teams will arrive Friday morning then have walk-throughs later in the afternoon.
“The people in Miami have been great,” Carrigan said.
UTPB, in its second season of intercollegiate football, is a member of the Lone Star Conference.
Carrigan previously had been at Tarleton State, where he was quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator, wide receivers coach, and for the final three years, offensive coordinator.
He also had been a graduate assistant at Midwestern State and an assistant as Texas-El Paso.
“We are a long ways from being off the ground,” Carrigan said. “As far as the football part of building a program has been pretty easy. It’s just recruiting. That is the nature of our job.
“All the other things of starting a program of weight room, locker room, offices, practice facilities and things of that nature have been the more challenging part of trying to get everything put together, being able to operate smoothly and effectively and be able to create something for the next 20 years or so.”
Unlike many startup programs that will play a jayvee schedule for a year or two, UTPB hit the ground running in 2016.
“We had a full conference schedule in 2016,” Carrigan said. “That was the way it was set up. It’s good that our kids have gotten an opportunity to see what the conference is like and what the expectations are. It’s been good for our kids to see how tough the Lone Star Conference is.”
Northeastern State and Central Oklahoma were members of the LSC, which will be adding Rogers State, Oklahoma Christian, Arkansas-Fort Smith (formerly Westark Community College) and five other schools in 2019
The roster primarily is made up of freshmen and sophomores with a smattering of upper classmen: six seniors and 11 juniors.
“Unfortunately most of the junior college guys we signed are out for the year with injuries, so we’ve built the foundation with a lot of youth,” Carrigan said.
The fact that the Falcons are a start-up program has made things attractive to the players.
“I think that is what has landed a bunch of the recruits that we have, just selling them on the opportunity to do something different, something unique, to be a part of history, to go down in the books here at UTPB as one of the first programs and starting something from scratch,” he said.
Both teams lost their games on Saturday, Oct. 14.
The Falcons slipped to 1-6 with a 47-21 loss to Texas A&M-Kingsville.
“They are a second-year program, but they are not your typical second-year program,” Bass said. “They are a physical bunch that has good size and athleticism. We will have to play very well.”
Quincy is 3-4 after a 55-0 loss to DII No. 7 Indianapolis (Indiana) University.
QU is a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, which includes five schools that had played in the MIAA in the past: Lincoln, Southwest Baptist, William Jewell, Truman State and Missouri A&T.
Like UTPB, the Hawks also are a young team.
“Ninety-six out of 120 kids on our roster are sophomores or younger,” Bass said, noting that there are 16 seniors and only eight juniors.
“All-in-all, I like to think we are a young football team that is still trying to find itself and establish 100 percent efficiency and an effective way for us to play on both sides of the football,” Bass said.
The Hawks run an offense similar to Stanford. He played for Mike Bloomgren, who is the Cardinal offensive coordinator.
“We pattern ourselves a lot after those guys in a lot of the stuff we do,” Bass said.
Linebacker Cody Leonard was named the D2Football.com National Defensive Player of the Week following the Hawks’ game against Lincoln.
Leonard had 16 tackles, including 11 solo stops. He also recorded three tackles for loss, and a sack.
Bass said in an Oct. 14 loss to William Jewell, the Hawks let off the gas pedal after going up 28-14 midway in the third quarter.
“A lot of those young kids exhaled a little bit, pulled off the gas, and we end up getting beat (45-28),” Bass said. “Hopefully that is something we can learn from and grow from. Outside of that, we have played some extremely talented football teams.”