After concluding a two-game road trip, Northeastern A&M’s Golden Norse return to Robertson Field amid the hustle and bustle of homecoming week to face the Wranglers of Cisco (Texas) Junior College with a 2 p.m. kick-off.
Contestants representing 25 campus clubs and organizations are vying for the homecoming queen title while 12 contestants are king candidates which will be presented during halftime festivities.
More than 30 members of the 1991 NEO NJCAA national championship team are also expected to be honored during the game along with numerous members of the 1967 and 1969 national champions.
Activities on Saturday begin with registration at 7 a.m. for a breakfast prior to the Running for Remembrance 5K run at 8 a.m.
At 9 a.m. a pancake tailgate for alumni, students, faculty/staff will be held in front of the dorms under the big-top.
The traditional homecoming parade will start on East Central and I Street at 11 a.m. and circle the campus ending at Robertson Field.
An Alumni Awards Banquet begins at noon in the renovated Bruce Carter Student Union Ballroom while NEO students will have a tailgate/pep rally at the fountain area located between the Creech Library/Administration building and the Fine Arts Center.
Between quarters of the football game, the outstanding alumni will be recognized while the queen and king coronation will be at halftime. Members of the 1991 team and Norse Stars reunion will also be recognized at halftime.
Following the game, a Championship Football Team Dinner which is open to the public and all NEO NJCAA national championship football teams.
The cost to attend the banquet is $20 per person. To make reservations, call Edie Ingram at (918) 540-6250.
“Homecoming always creates an issue with any football team because of the on-campus events throughout the week,” Patterson said. “I’m more concerned about how our guys respond after the Blinn thing than the distractions created by homecoming.
“We’ll be able to tell by the way they practice and prepare for Cisco during the week,” Patterson said. “It’s our job as coaches to make sure that they are not distracted and remain focused on the task at hand. Coming off a loss, it should be a little easier to keep them focused on their preparation for the next opponent.”
With three Southwest Junior College Football Conference teams ranked in the National Junior College Athletic Association top 10 and four of the seven-member teams in the Top 25, Patterson’s Golden Norsemen return to Robertson Field with a 2-1 season record and a 0-1 conference mark.
The Golden Norse come off the road following a 49-14 loss last weekend to Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.
After an open date on Sept. 24, the Norse begin another two-game road trip to Kilgore, Texas on Oct. 1 and 10th ranked Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas on Oct. 8. Both games will be at 3 p.m.
“We got ‘lit up’ a little bit at Blinn last week and I’m anxious to see how we rebound from that,” Patterson said. “Hopefully, we’ve put it behind us and are focused on the task at hand. We want to get that sour taste our of our mouths and go out and win.”
Sophomore Beau Marsaln will be at the Golden Norse offensive controls with Gerald Howse, Delans Griffin and Louis Durant alternating at running back.
Marsaln ranks second behind Cisco quarterback Jacob Morgan as the leading passer in the conference. Marsaln has completed 41 of 72 passes for 663 yards and six touchdowns with three interceptions. He’s also scored a TD on a 24-yard run.
Howse and Griffin rank third and fourth respectively in the conference rushing stats. Howse has 247 yards on 54 carries with two touchdowns while Griffin has gained 238 yards on 32 attempts with three TDs.
Durant has added 29 yards on nine carries.
“I didn’t think we played up to speed against Blinn, so we worked hard all week to improve the overall speed of our game,” Patterson said. “In this conference, every team is going to be fast, so we’ve got to get to that level. We want to run to the football faster, picking up more speed on both sides of the ball and to get better ourselves as a football team.”
Veteran wide out Donovan Dan leads the Norse receiving corps with eight catches for 116 yards without a touchdown.
Freshman wide receiver Kameron Doolittle has four receptions for 119 yards and two TDs.
“Defensively, Cisco has been in a three-four front their first two games which could give us some trouble,” Patterson said. “We’ve been playing against the standard four-three front and now we’ve only had a couple of days to adjust to their defensive scheme. That’s going to change a lot of the things we do offensively because we haven’t seen this defense yet.”
Six members of the Golden Norse defense rank in the SWJCFC top 10 defensive statistics.
Freshman strong safety Donnie Fuston leads the conference with 23 unassisted tackles and 15 assists.
Sophomore defensive end Kerry Burks ranks second with 16 solo tackles and 19 assists while leading the conference with four quarterback sacks for minus-37 yards.
Freshman linebacker Johnathon Coleman is second in the SWJCFC with 17 tackles and 11 assists while another freshman linebacker, Jaiari Dunaway, is fourth in the league with 12 tackles and 15 assists.
Last year’s total tackle leader, sophomore linebacker Adrian Shoecraft, ranks sixth with 12 unassisted tackles and 14 assists.
Freshman defensive end Trevon Lewis ranks ninth in the conference with 12 solo tackles and 14 assists.
“Even with their ability to fluctuate from scheme to scheme, our focus has still has to be on stopping the run to control their offense,” Patterson said.