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The Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) Golden Norsemen are riding on a three-game winning streak as they prepare to host the Blinn College Buccaneers Saturday, Nov. 3, in the first round of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) Regional Playoffs. The Norsemen, under first year head coach Zach Allen, are looking to repeat after claiming the regional title last season. “The main challenge for us was to build off last year’s success,” said Allen. “We had to understand that 2017 needs to be celebrated, but we cannot rest on that success, we needed to build our own identity.”

The last time the two teams met during the regular season, Blinn pulled off an upset over NEO, using a balanced offensive strategy. NEO was unable to stop the rush of Devin McAdoo and Carlos Grace and ultimately fell 56-28. Since that game, the Norse defense has been clamping down on opposing offenses, allow fewer points each successive game and just 12 points in the 49-12 rout of Cisco to close out the regular season. “This late in the season, offenses are trying new things and defenses are forced to adjust, ours included,” added Allen. “There were times during this season where our offense and defense were waiting on each other to make a play, but this last month they have been trusting the other to do their job and we’re all performing at a high level.”

One change that will likely add a new challenge for the Blinn defense is the addition of Guy Myers at starting quarterback for the Norsemen. Myers was inserted into the lineup during the Blinn game and went 3 for 4 with one touchdown and 12 yards rushing. The redshirt sophomore from Woodbridge, Virginia is a general studies major, and since getting the start against Tyler, Texas, he is averaging over 200 yards passing and nearly 100 yards rushing per game. “Getting the start against Tyler was an amazing feeling,” said the 6-6, 220-pound Myers. “It was an honor to know that the coaches had enough faith in me to start in such an important game.”

Myers can also rely on the constant presence of redshirt sophomore running back Darran Williams. Williams, a business administration technology major from Edmond, Okla., recently crossed the 1,000-yard mark with a monster performance against Cisco. In the game, he accumulated 197 yards rushing, three touchdowns, an 80-yard carry, and an average of 10.4 yards per carry. “Knowing I have Darran in the back field with me is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” said Myers. “If Darran sees something pre snap he always lets me know. He has my back just like I have his.”

“We hope that Guy will really give us an edge over Blinn,” said Coach Allen. “We know that Darran can perform consistently, but Guy adds another element to account for in the run game.”

The winner of the playoff game will face the winner of the playoff game in Kilgore, Texas, where the Navarro College Bulldogs will face off against and the Conference Champion Kilgore College Rangers. NEO enters the game with a 7-2 overall record (5-2 in the SWJCFC, 2nd) and Blinn has a record of 6-3 (4-3 in the SWJCFC, 3rd). Kickoff is at 2 p.m. at Red Robertson Field. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $10 for blue level seating. Season passes are not accepted for post-season play and tickets are sold first come, first served at the gate. Gates will open at 1 p.m. on Saturday and during the halftime of the game, NEO will recognize the Miami Wardog sixth-grade Super Bowl championship team. For more information on the game, contact Nancy Roberts at 918-540-6327. (Photo: NEO’s Darran Williams (25) attempts to evade Blinn’s Josh Reed during a SWJCFC game Saturday at Cub Stadium in Brenham, Texas. Photo credit: Joe Alberico)

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