MIAMI, Okla. - The No. 11 Blinn Buccaneers fell to the No. 8 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Norsemen, 38-34, in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference semi-final on Saturday afternoon at Red Robertson Field.
The Blinn Buccaneers trailed 21-10 at the half before outscoring the Norsemen, 14-3, to build a 34-24 lead with less than eight minutes remaining.
"These kids fought their tails off, they haven't given up all year long, and unfortunately we just ran out of time on this one, but you have to give NEO the credit," said Ryan Mahon, Blinn head coach.
In the final eight minutes, the Norsemen rallied for two touchdowns in order to defeat the Buccaneers.
Devin Williams and Dandre Reed connected for three touchdown passes to lead the Blinn offense, while Carlos Grace scored for Blinn on a rushing touchdown, and Ryan Buckley added six points to the board with two field goals.
In the first quarter, Blinn led 7-0 after Williams and Reed connected for their first touchdown. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M opened the second quarter with two touchdowns to take a 14-7 lead with 10:59 left in the first half. Buckley recorded the only points for the Buccaneers in the second quarter with a field goal, before the Norsemen scored their third touchdown of the quarter with 39 seconds remaining for a 21-10 lead at the half.
In the second half, the Buccaneers began a rally that was led off by a touchdown pass from Williams to Reed for Blinn to narrow in on the Norsemen, 21-17. After the Norsemen scored on a field goal, the Buccaneers rallied to a 34-24 lead with two touchdowns as Williams once again found Reed in the end zone, and Carlos Grace rushed in his first touchdown of the game.
The Buccaneers continued to hold a 34-31 lead until the Norsemen scored the final touchdown of the game with 1:27 left.
The Buccaneers finished the season with a 6-3 record and ranked No. 11 in the nation.
"I am really happy for these kids; they have done so much all year long, and they have stayed together," Mahon said. "We have great team chemistry, and since they are a very young team, all the experiences that they have had this season is going to be something that we can build upon for next year."
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 36 NJCAA national championships since 1987.