After more than 30 years of area fans commenting on the lack of local players appearing on the Northeastern A&M Golden Norse football roster, no less than 11 players from within 25 miles of Miami will be among the 79 on the sideline when the 2007 season kicks off Saturday against Dodge City (Kan.) Community College.

The Golden Norsemen start a nine-game season Saturday at 7 p.m. by hosting the Dodge City Conquistadors. Gates open at 6 p.m.

Tickets at the gate are $6 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. Reserved season tickets are $40 per person while a general admission pass is $25. A general admission family pass that includes two adults and three children under the age of 16 is $50.

Anyone wanting ticket information should contact Kathie Hulsey at 540-6327.

Coach Rob Green and his staff have been diligent in recruiting local talent during his three-year tenure as head coach.

Both teams are still at 100 players, and while the Golden Norsemen are bound by a Southwest Junior College Football Conference limit of five out-of-state players, coach Marcus Garstecki and his staff must trim their roster to 55 players by Friday according to the Jayhawk Community College Conference.

“We still have to trim down from eight out-of-state players to five, Garstecki said. “And we won't have a numerical roster until Friday because we've got several positions where the No. 2 position is still up for grabs.

Unlike Dodge City, Green and his coaches have selected a numerical roster of 79 with another 29 players receiving redshirt status. Six local players appear in the two-deep roster on offense while two locals are on the defensive unit.

“We feel like we've done a great job of recruiting our area, Green said. “Year in and year out, there is going to be some very good football players come out of local high schools and we know we can be competitive (recruiting wise) once we get them on campus.

Five former Miami High School Wardogs appear on the roster, led by preseason all-American sophomore offensive guard Mark Chesnut (6-3, 284). Backing up Chesnut is Miami freshman Zack Kellogg (6-4, 280).

Former all-state Wardog trackster Zack Simpson (6-1, 200) is a backup at wide receiver to sophomore Curtis Tucker (6-1, 208 of Cushing).

Redshirt freshman Kaelin Woods (6-1, 195) is a backup for sophomore Bo Bowling (5-10, 205 of Tonkawa) at quarterback.

Sophomore Logan Zabel (6-2, 205) is the backup for freshman Darran Kinsey (6-1, 190 of Goliver Prep, Fla.) at outside linebacker.

Commerce sophomore Damyon Dooley (6-3, 238) plays behind starter Blake Byford (6-1, 241 of Edmond North) at tight end.

Former Tiger freshman Jared Dopp (6-1, 220) should see some action at outside linebacker.

Afton sophomore offensive guard John Victor (6-2, 273) plays behind veteran Brandon Love (6-2, 290 of Midwest City Carl Albert) on the right side. Former Eagle freshman Matt Handy (6-2, 200) provides depth at tight end.

Two former Grove Ridgerunners are expected to see considerable playing time. Sophomore Ben Hampton (6-3, 252) is a deep snapper while Jordan Karriman (6-4, 265) could play at a offensive guard spot.

Norse notes: The first weekly meeting of the Golden Norse Booster Club will be noon Wednesday in the Bruce G. Carter Student Union Ballroom. Admission for the luncheon is $5 per person at the door. Coach Green will introduce members of his coaching staff and discuss the Dodge City game.a distinct local flavor