Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series of articles previewing the teams the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen play during the 2008 football season.
Defending Southwest Junior College Football Conference champion Navarro College comes to Robertson Field on Oct. 11 as the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen entertain the Bulldogs in a 3 p.m. contest.
Scoring 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, the Navarro College Bulldogs won their first SWJCFC Championship with a 54-28 upset over Kilgore College at Kilgore's R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.
Under the direction of first-year head coach Ray Woodard, the Bulldogs defeated previously fourth-ranked Georgia Military College 24-21 in the Pilgrim's Pride Bowl Classic to close out the season ranked fourth in the nation with a 9-3 overall record.
“Everything came together for us at the right time last season,” Woodard said. “Our kids had that ‘refuse to lose' attitude the last five games and they went out and beat a very good Blinn team (42-18 and 28-9) in consecutive weeks before knocking off Kilgore and Georgia Military.”
While the Golden Norse defense held Navarro College to under 400 yards in total offense last season, the NEO offense came to a dead stop in a 34-12 loss to the Bulldogs before a partisan homecoming crowd at Tiger Stadium.
Two all-conference performers are among four returning starters on the Bulldog offense. Navarro led the SWJCFC by averaging 427.6 total yards per game.
Locked in a battle for the starting quarterback job are sophomores Andre Bevil and Eric Humphrey.
Bevil (6-2, 186 of West Orange, Texas) completed 29 of 46 passes for 323 yards and six touchdowns with four interceptions. He also rushed for 159 yards on 34 carries with four TDs.
Humphrey (6-1, 180 of Cypress, Texas) completed 11 of 31 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. He also rushed for 46 yards on nine carries.
With on offense predicated on a running game, the Bulldogs return running backs Octavious Logan and Justin Sturns.
Logan (6-0, 190 of East Oktibbeha, MIss.) rushed for 458 yards on 63 carries with six TDs. He caught four passes for 17 yards.
Sturns (5-11, 205 of Rusk, Texas) gained 244 yards on 51 carries and two touchdowns. He caught two passes for nine yards.
Leading the Bulldogs receiving corps are wide outs Kevin Diles and Rodney Bradley.
Diles (5-8, 175 of Marlin, Texas) caught 18 passes for 255 yards and two TDs while Bradley (6-1, 180 of Lake Highlands, Texas) made 18 catches for 268 yards and two touchdowns.
All-conference selections Roy Watts, Jr. (6-6, 300 of Houston, Texas) returns at offensive tackle and Anthony Morgan (6-4, 285 of Lancaster, Texas) is back at guard.
Even though the Navarro offense was potent, the Bulldog defense was lethal by ranking second in the conference. Navarro held the opposition to 308.6 total yards per game.
First team all-conference cornerback Ryan Clark (6-1, 185 of Beaumont, Texas) returns to lead the Navarro defense. Clark ranked second in the league with six interceptions while leading the Bulldogs secondary with 56 total tackles.
Returning at the other corner is all-conference selection Kory Smith (5-10, 180 of Waxahachie, Texas). Smith recorded three interceptions with 45 total tackles.
Anchoring a linebacking position is Alfred “Boom” Jones (5-10, 235 of Bartow, Fla.). Jones made 83 total tackles and three quarterback sacks for minus-15 yards last season.
Returning at both end positions are Malcolm Blount and Darby Jackson.
Blount (6-1, 220 of Greenville, N.C.). Blount recorded six quarterback sacks for minus-30 yards and 47 total tackles.
Jackson (6-3, 210 of Humble, Texas) posted 30 total tackles with three quarterback sacks for minus-18 yards.