Two teams that have been picked in the second tier of the respective conferences collide Saturday as the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen open the 2008 season at 7 p.m. in Gowans Stadium against the Hutchinson Community College Blue Dragons.
After finishing with their second consecutive 4-5 seasons and fifth in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference, coach Rob Green's Norsemen have been picked to finish sixth in the SWJCFC preseason.
Coach Rion Rhoades made his debut as head coach by guiding the Hutchinson Blue Dragons to a 2-7 record last season. The Blue Dragons tied Independence, Kan., for fifth place in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference with a 2-5 mark.
While neither current head coach has been involved in the storied history between the two teams, the Golden Norsemen have built an 8-3 lead in the series which started in 1949.
During hall of fame coach Glen Wolfe's tenure as Northeastern A&M head coach from 1978 to 1990, the Golden Norse won four of the five games played between the adversaries.
Actually, NEO won all five games on the field, but had to forfeit a 21-9 win in 1978 because of an ineligible player.
The last time these two teams squared off was the second game of the 1990 campaign.
The Norsemen generated 455 yards in total offense en route to a 41-0 shutout over the Blue Dragons at Robertson Field.
Leshon Johnson rushed for 94 yards while Scott Crabtree completed 9 of 13 for 124 yards and two TDs to lead NEO's offense.
Traveling to Gowans Stadium in 1989, Johnson rushed for 121 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Golden Norse to a 49-6 rout of the Blue Dragons.
Starting the decades of the 80's, the Norsemen earned a 27-3 victory over the Blue Dragons at Hutchinson. Quarterback Tod Weder completed 6 of 10 passes for 121 yards and two TDs to pace the Norse offense.
Playing five straight games in the 1970s, the Golden Norse opened the 1979 season with a 20-9 victory at Robertson Field. Fullback Doug Furnas caught two passes for 91 yards and two TDs to spark NEO.
Despite a 145-yard rushing performance by Danny Garnham, the Norsemen forfeited the 21-9 win in 1978.
Freshman tailback James Wilder electrified a large Robertson Field crowd with 200 yards on 27 carries and four touchdowns as coach Lee Snyder's Norsemen opened the 1977 season with a 27-13 win. Ironically, that was the only season Snyder and Wilder were at NEO.
Hutchinson cruised to a 40-24 victory over Northeastern A&M at Gowans Stadium to start the 1976 season.
Following a 13-year hiatus, the series resumed in 1975 with coach Rube Berry's Golden Norsemen gaining a 21-7 win at Robertson Field. Mike Vanlandingham rushed for 65 yards and Bill Crutcher completed 3 of 10 passes for 53 yards and one TD for NEO's offense.
During the 1960s, the Golden Norse defeated the Blue Dragons 46-15 in 1962 and 27-6 in 1961.
The Blue Dragon's started the series with a hard fought 30-26 win in 1949.
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 Hutchinson game.