BRENHAM, Texas – Blinn College football shined for the home crowd as they took down No. 10 Navarro College, 27-12, on Saturday night at Cub Stadium for the Buccaneers' home opener.
The upset improved the Buccaneers' record to 2-0 overall and 2-0 in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference.
"It was a great team win; both sides really executed well," said Ryan Mahon, Blinn head coach. "This team is very resilient and they played as a family and I couldn't be more proud of them."
The offense made an early statement against Navarro, scoring 27 points in the first half, while the defense shut down the Bulldogs in the second quarter.
"I prepared mentally all week and so when I came out here I knew what I had to do," Grace said. "I watched film all week and studied every person on defense and I came through."
The Buccaneers got off to a shaky start after the Bulldogs scored on a recovered fumble to take a 6-0 lead within the first three minutes of the game, but that would be the only time Navarro would hold the lead for the remainder of the game.
Williams worked swiftly in the pocket to turn things around, connecting with wide receiver Quinton Newton for 35 yards to place the ball on the one-yard-line. Grace jumped in to run the ball in from one yard back to give Blinn a 7-6 lead with 5:48 remaining in the first quarter.
The offense worked together as Newton, who led the Buccaneers with 90 yards in three receptions, caught a 32 yard pass from Williams to place sophomore kicker Ryan Buckley in prime position for his first of two field goals in the game. Buckley made a 22-yard field goal to keep Blinn on top 10-6 with 3:03 left in the opening quarter.
The Bulldogs stayed in the game with a 32-yard field goal to inch behind Blinn 9-6. However, a 35 yard run by Grace set Buckley up for his second field goal of the night, a 33 yarder, to keep Blinn ahead 13-9 with 12:20 left in the first half.
The Buccaneers tacked on 14 more points in the second quarter as Williams tossed a 25 yard pass to Dandre Reed with 7:17 remaining to give Blinn a 20-9 lead. Reed finished the game with 63 yards in five receptions for one touchdown, while Keric Wheatfall posted 30 yards in three catches.
The Bulldogs kept it close, adding three more points to the board with a field goal to make it 20-12, but a fumble recovery by Blinn's Eugene Shorter on Navarro's two-yard-line allowed Grace to score on a three yard run for Blinn to take a 27-12 lead with 2:12 left in the first half.
"The secondary is sound this year and up front we are getting so much pressure on the quarterback," Mahon said. "I wouldn't want to face our defense."
The Buccaneers will host No. 3 Trinity Valley Community College on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. at Cub Stadium.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 36 NJCAA national championships since 1987.